As reported by TechCrunch, Yelp is adding a new feature that will allow users to report if a business is following the proper COVID-19 precautions to help other consumers be confident in supporting that business.
Yelp’s head of consumer product, Akhil Kuduvalli Ramesh, suggested that this is the next phase of how the company is trying to help local businesses, after allowing them to highlight virtual services, manage their waitlists in accordance with new regulations and indicate the health and safety measures that they’re taking.
Ramesh says that the feature is less of a way to scold businesses that are not following social distancing and mask-wearing policies but a way to give consumers confidence in shopping at the businesses that do.
Of course, it’s one thing to see that a business claims to have strict mask-wearing and social distancing procedures, and another to hear other customers confirm that it’s true (or not). So Ramesh said it’s less about warning users away from certain businesses and more working “to continue to instill confidence in consumers to continue to connect with and support local businesses.”
Currently, the reporting will be limited to social distancing and mask-wearing but could be expanded to include reporting for other things in the future. Once enough feedback is received, a label will appear on the business telling users if social distancing or mask-wearing is enforced.
When Yelp receives enough answers to offer present meaningful data (the company, understandably, isn’t disclosing the exact threshold), it will add a message in the health and safety section of the profile: “Social distancing enforced according to most users” with a green checkmark, or “Social distancing might not be enforced according to most users” with an orange question mark, with similar messages for mask-wearing.
According to Ramesh, only a couple hundred businesses out of the millions of companies on the app seem to be failing in their safety policies.
Ramesh said that Yelp has already been collecting this user feedback, and at launch, only “a couple hundred” of the millions of businesses on Yelp will be marked with an orange label, “which also means that many businesses are doing the right thing.”