Yelp Will Now Rate How Well A Business Is Following COVID-19 Guidelines

January 13, 2021

Online crowdsourced-reviews aggregator Yelp has begun allowing customer to input information about whether or not restaurants, bars, and other businesses are properly observing COVID-19 guidelines like social distancing and requiring masks.

"As consumers look for ways to continue supporting their favorite local businesses, their personal health and safety remains a critical part of the decision making process," wrote Yelp's Head of Consumer Products Akhil Kuduvalli to a blog post announcing the new features. "And for businesses, we know it’s especially important to efficiently communicate their current service offerings and health and safety practices to customers - in fact, we saw consumer interest increase 41% for businesses that added COVID-19 business updates to their Yelp pages between September 1 and December 31, 2020."

Akin to how users can assist in curating information about a businesses attributes, such as "Good For Groups" and "Accepts Credit Cards", Yelp now allows people to select if a business abides by health and safety measures like "Social distancing enforced" and "Temperature checks". If a business's page receives enough responses over a 28 day period, the information will be displayed on the COVID-19 section of the individual page. If the majority of responses indicate a health and safety measure is being implemented, there will be a green check mark shown next to the measure. However, if a majority of user responses indicate that these measures are not enforced, an orange question mark will be displayed with some text that reads something like, "Social distancing might not be enforced according to most users" or, "Staff might not wear masks according to most users." At launch, the orange question mark is only displayed on a couple hundred businesses out of the millions of businesses on Yelp, so it will be relatively uncommon at rollout. Yelp users can provide feedback by clicking the "Edit" icon next to the "COVID-19 Updates" area atop a business's page. Yelp has ensured it has "implemented advanced technology to mitigate potential misuse of the feature."

In addition to the new crowdsourced feature, Yelp is now allowing businesses to indicate new service offerings and health and safety practices, such as staff checked for symptoms, disposable or contactless menu, covered outdoor seating, indoor dining, DIY meal kits and more. Business owners can update this information by logging into their Yelp for Business account. Yelp also removed more than 4,000 reviews that they determined violated their special COVID-19 review content guidelines between March 1 and November 30, 2020.