Yelp Starts Sharing User Feedback on Local Business COVID-19 Safety Measures-news

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Seven months after introducing in-app COVID-19 health and safety measures, Yelp now allows users to provide feedback on whether their favorite establishments are following those advertised practices during the global pandemic.

“We know many businesses are prioritizing the health and safety of their customers,” Akhil Kuduvalli, head of Yelp consumer product, wrote in a blog announcement. “This new update further highlights how businesses have adapted to keep their customers safe, and aims to instill confidence in consumers to continue supporting local businesses.”

Instead of noting whether a restaurant is “kid-friendly” or “great for groups,” folks can document whether the salon staff wears masks or social distancing is enforced at the gym. “These are the health and safety precautions that can be most easily observed by customers,” according to Kuduvalli.

There are two ways to submit input: via survey questions—similar to other business information—or the “Edit” icon in the top right corner of the COVID-19 Updates section. The latter allows users to provide additional information on how an establishment is currently operating.

(Photo via Yelp)

User-generated feedback is not approved willy-nilly, though. Several criteria must be met before anyone’s evaluation can be displayed: A business needs to receive several responses with consensus from multiple accounts within the previous 28 days.

For more information, visit a business’s Yelp page and navigate to the COVID-19 Updates section. Under the “Health & safety measures” heading, you’ll find a green check mark to indicate measures are being enforced, or an orange question mark, which suggests the opposite. Be sure to read the accompanying text for clarification.

“At launch, the orange question mark is only displayed on a couple hundred businesses out of the millions of businesses on Yelp—making it relatively uncommon as of today,” Kuduvalli ensured users. “We’ve also implemented advanced technology to mitigate potential misuse of the feature.”

Yelp also added new service offerings and health and safety practices, including “staff checked for symptoms,” “disposable or contactless menu,” “heated/covered outdoor seating,” “private dining,” “DIY meal kits” “1:1 sessions available.”

“As the pandemic continues to change our daily lives, we are relentlessly focused on addressing the needs of both local businesses and consumers by providing helpful and up-to-date information during these uncertain times,” the blog said. “We remain committed to continuing to support our community through the pandemic by building solutions that help them stay connected.”

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