Yelp adds COVID-19 checklist to each business for review

Yelp released an update this week that made safety protocols for COVID-19 clear on businesses worldwide. Starting today, Yelp includes a section where users can note if they observed, or did not observe, "the enforcement of social distancing and staff wearing masks" at businesses.

"For businesses, we know it's especially important to efficiently communicate their current service offerings and health and safety practices to customers," said Akhil Kuduvalli Ramesh, Head of Consumer Product for Yelp. "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."

To this end, Yelp's adding "Health & safety measures" under their already-present COVID-19 section for businesses. Health & safety measures are "based on info from the business or [Yelp] users" and includes items like temperature checks, symptom checks, social distancing, and staff mask enforcement.

Yelp COVID-19 health & safety checklist:

• Staff wears masks

• Staff wears gloves

• Social distancing enforced

• Masks required

• Sanitizing between customers

• Temperature checks

• Hand sanitizer provided

• Contactless payments

• Outdoor seating

In addition to social distancing and mask wearing with the latest version of Yelp, reviewers can note a few other specific elements. Business type specific elements are present, like 1:1 sessions available and "disposable or contactless menu". All of this appears in the COVID-19 section on Yelp pages that was first added for businesses in the summer of 2020.

Businesses can indicate:

• Staff checked for symptoms (available to all businesses)

• Disposable or contactless menu (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)

• Heated outdoor seating (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)

• Covered outdoor seating (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)

• Indoor dining (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)

• Private dining (available to restaurants)

• DIY meal kits (available to restaurants)

• Outdoor services (available to fitness and beauty businesses)

• 1:1 sessions available (available to fitness businesses)

• Limited group sessions available (available to fitness businesses)

Because this health and safety system can change so rapidly, "to ensure feeedback displayed is based on recent visits to the business," evaluations of user responses are done daily, "and only user responses received within the previous 28 days are counted." For businesses that have multiple locations, each individual location will have its own user feedback.

Yelp also noted that special COVID-19 rules are in effect for reviews and removal of reviews during the pandemic. In the Yelp How do I remove a review page, COVID-19 content guidelines are listed.