As restaurants across the US begin to reopen, Yelp is rolling out new tools to allow business owners to share the safety measures they’re taking to keep both customers and staff safe.
Yelp will launch a new COVID-19 section for businesses listed on the platform today. Located in between the business’s name and reviews, the section will let business owners show what services they will offer, like indoor or outdoor dining, and what safety measures they are taking, like temperature checks.
A number of different attributes will be available under the COVID-19 section. Business owners will be allowed to check off whether they observe different safety measures such as contactless payment or mandatory face masks and gloves for staff. “Different cities have different protocols,” Yelp’s head of consumer product, Akhil Kuduvalli Ramesh, told The Verge. “We have come up with the 10 most widely accepted protocols that consumers expect to see, and businesses have taken on to implement.”
Yelp also said that it will publish a timestamp each time a business owner updates the COVID-19 section so a customer can see whether information, such as hours of operation or business updates, are current. Businesses can add and update all this information on their own, but they must claim their listing on Yelp and log into their Yelp for Business account to do so. Consumers can verify these health and safety guidelines for any listing on Yelp once they check into a given business, too.
Yelp is also adding new COVID-19-related tools to its Yelp Waitlist feature. Restaurants will be able to print out a QR code that customers can scan to join a restaurant’s waitlist, offering a contact-free way to get in line. In addition, business owners will have the option to manually adjust wait time estimates by adding restrictions such as reduced capacity or staff, and they will be notified by the app when the restaurant is about to reach or exceeds its capacity.
In early March, Yelp launched its first set of COVID-19-related tools, such as the option for business owners to let customers know if they were temporarily closed or only open for delivery or takeout orders. It also launched a $25 million fund that offered free advertising and Yelp services to local businesses.