By: Nick Gambino

When COVID hit, businesses found themselves navigating uncertain waters to stay afloat. The lockdown forced nearly all of them to shutter their doors. Some survived and opened up again, while others never did.

Now with the delta variant in full swing, things are tightening up again and we’re trying desperately to avoid another lockdown. Yelp has added features that help businesses inform customers of their COVID policies by placing them right on their profile.

This week, Yelp is adding yet another feature that is controversial to say the least. The platform has added a label that restaurants and stores can use in their listing that tells customers whether they’ll be asked for proof of vaccination.

The “proof of vaccination required” label means customers will have to bring their vaccination card in order to enter the establishment. It also allows customers to filter their search by places that require vaccination to enter.

This doesn’t mean every business is going to add this. In fact, I doubt it will be that many. As I said, it’s a controversial subject and I think a lot of local businesses, and even the big guys, are going to want to rely on the honor system. As of now, it’s unclear what kind of legal trouble this is going to bring to their doorstep.

Yelp is doing their part to try and protect those businesses who choose to take a harder stance to keep their employees and customers safe. Yelp monitors their pages and adds Unusual Activity Alerts and removes reviews if they are being used to disparage the business for its safety protocols. They’ve removed over 4,500 reviews to date.

“Yelp’s Content Guideline require all reviews be based on a first-hand consumer experience,” Noorie Malik, the Vice President of User Operations for Yelp, said in a blog post. “However, in recent weeks, we’ve seen a rise in reviews focused on people’s stance on COVID vaccinations rather than their actual experience with the business.”

In line with these new features to help battle the pandemic, the business listing company has added an additional label that indicates whether all of that business’s staff are fully vaccinated.