Yelp adds a feature that allows customers to report businesses for failing to follow COVID safety measurements
Yelp gives customers the option to report whether or not a business is following coronavirus precautions.
Companies that adhere to the guidelines for masks and social distancing will receive a green tick, while companies that do not follow the protocol will receive an orange question mark.
Ratings are only awarded to companies if a consensus is reached from different responses, to “mitigate potential abuse.”
Yelp has also added several new restaurant features, including ‘heated outdoor seating’ and ‘disposable or contactless menu’.
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When several reviewers state that masks are worn and social distance is perceived, the company gets a green check mark. If the majority of the answers are negative or mixed, it will have an orange question mark
“As consumers look for ways to continue to support their favorite local businesses, their personal health and safety remains a critical part of the decision-making process,” writes Akhil Kuduvalli, Yelp’s director of consumer products. in a blog post.
“And for businesses, we know it’s especially important to communicate their current service offering and health and safety practices efficiently to customers.”
Launched Tuesday, the new feature allows users to report whether they’ve seen staff wearing masks and social distance – or not.
The tool gives potential customers more confidence to support businesses in their local communities, ‘said Kuduvalli
Restaurants can now specify whether they have contactless menus or heated alfresco dining, and fitness centers can specify whether they offer one-on-one or small group sessions
Feedback is available for restaurants, entertainment, retail, food and beauty products, as well as automotive and professional services.
In order for the answers to be authentic, only Yelp users who are logged in can report, and the answers must reach a consensus on whether masks and social distance are perceived.
Each franchise location is rated individually and, according to Yelp, only the feedback received in the last 28 days is counted.
If a company is following protocols, a green check mark will appear that says ‘Social disassociation enforced according to most users’ or ‘Staff wear masks according to most users’.
If most responses indicate that measures are not being enforced, or if the feedback is mixed, an orange question mark will appear that reads, “Social disassociation may not be enforced according to most users” or “Staff contributes according to users. ‘
The ‘question mark’ has only appeared at a few hundred businesses and Yelp says it is using advanced technology to ‘mitigate potential abuse’ of the new feedback feature
The ‘question mark’ icon only appears on a few hundred of the millions of businesses listed on Yelp, and the company says it uses advanced technology to ‘reduce potential abuse’.
According to Kuduvalli, more than 4,000 reviews were already removed from March to December that violated content guidelines, preventing unfair harm to businesses.
Last summer, Yelp began allowing stores to easily update information about current hours, offers, and safety precautions.
Interest in companies adding COVID-19 updates is up more than 40 percent, Kuduvalli said.
The rating hub also now allows restaurants to specify whether they offer disposable or contactless menus, heated and / or covered outdoor seating, or other amenities.
Fitness companies can also indicate whether they offer one-on-one or small group sessions our field services.
Yelp says businesses that have actively updated their pages to reflect their current hours, services, and security measures have seen a spike of over 40 percent in page activity
All companies can indicate whether staff have been checked for coronavirus symptoms.
“As the pandemic continues to change our daily lives, we are incessantly focused on fulfilling the needs of both local businesses and consumers by providing useful and timely information in these uncertain times,” said Kuduvalli.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on brick-and-mortar businesses, with data released by Yelp in September showing that up to 60 percent of stores forced to close during the shutdown will never open again.
The site reports that a total of more than 163,000 U.S. businesses on Yelp have closed since March, with nearly 98,000 closing permanently.
Even as the toughest lockdowns were lifted, limited capacity and reduced demand left many small stores permanently out of business, the report said.
Restaurants were the hardest hit, with nearly 20,000 permanently closed between March and September alone.
Large and densely populated cities have seen more permanent closures, likely as a result of higher rents and tougher pandemic rules.
Los Angeles and New York City had the most, with more than 7,000 each in the seven-month period.