Diners can know in advance what restrictions and precautions businesses are taking as states and cities reopen.

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
June 17, 2020
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As regions around the country attempt to reopen in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a patchwork of rules and regulations (and, in some cases, lack thereof) is emerging across the nation. It can be hard to keep track of, but consumer review site Yelp is attempting to give business owners tools to let their customers know what to expect.

Credit: Thomas Trutschel / Contributor Editorial #:

"Today, we’re launching a new COVID-19 section on Yelp business pages, which features important updates, including details on health and safety measures the business has implemented and updates to their service offerings," Yelp posted on a company blog Tuesday. "Businesses can indicate whether they’re offering dine-in service, outdoor seating, in-person visits, as well as virtual services, curbside pickup and delivery options. The section also features a customizable message from the business, which we originally introduced as a COVID-19 banner in late March. Since then, more than 380,000 businesses have activated the free banner with a personalized message to consumers."

The section offers a variety of specific measures to select from, including operating at limited capacity, social distancing enforcement, sanitization between customers, whether staff are wearing masks and gloves, if hand sanitizer is available, contactless payment availability, and whether masks and temperature checks are being enforced for customers.

The new safety updates will also include a timestamp to indicate when they were last edited to ensure the information is up to date. And later this month, customers who use Yelp will be able to provide feedback as to whether businesses are indeed following these practices.

Previously, Yelp instituted a waitlist feature that allowed diners to designate a certain timeframe for dining options.

The addition of a COVID-19 section comes on the heels of a weekend that saw multiple states experiment with various phases of reopening, accompanied by a backlash against taking basic precautions from Americans and a spike in the number coronavirus cases overall.