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Yelp will tell you which restaurants aren’t following COVID-19 guidelines

Steve Dent
·Associate Editor
·2 min read

Yelp recently introduced a COVID-19 section on its app, allowing businesses to detail the sanitary measures they’ve taken to protect clients. Now, the review site is allowing customers to provide feedback on those practices. You can report if staff are wearing masks and enforcing social distancing, in the same way that you can tell folks if a restaurant is “kid-friendly” or “great for groups.”

In several examples for “Darwin’s Diner” (nice one), Yelp shows users an “update the community” prompt with the question: “Is the staff wearing masks?”, letting you select “Yes,” “No,” “Sometimes” and “Not sure.” If you’re thinking about going there, the “COVID-19 Updates” section shows that “Social distancing enforced according to most users” or “Staff wears masks according to most users.”

Yelp lets you report restaurants that aren't following COVID-19 rules
Yelp lets you report restaurants that aren't following COVID-19 rules

However, if a majority report that the measures aren’t enforced, the updates are more equivocal. In those cases, an orange question mark is displayed with the text, “Social distancing might not be enforced according to most users” or “Staff might not wear masks according to most users.”

Yelp said it would only display the mask and social distancing information if it receives a consensus from multiple confirmed users within the previous 28 days. With the ambiguous orange warning, however, it might not be clear to some folks. Still, Yelp said that “it is not common for businesses to receive an orange question mark” for social distancing and masks, with only “a couple hundred out of the millions of businesses on Yelp.” The company also noted that it has removed 4,000 reviews that violated its COVID-19 review content guidelines.

You can also tell others whether a business offers outdoor seating, if sanitizing is done between customers, if contactless payment is supported and more. That information is entered either via survey questions, or using the “edit” icon at the top right of a business page’s COVID-19 updates section, as show in the image above (click to enlarge). The new features are now live — for more, check Yelp’s official blog.