Yelp's New Feature Lets Users Report Restaurants Not Following COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Jan 15, 2021 01:10 AM EST | By Josh Summers (

Attention Restaurants! Yelp Allows Users to Report Business Establishments Who Do Not Follow COVID-19 Safety Protocols
(Photo : Sean Gallup)
Food couriers from Wolt pick up take-out food orders at a Vietnamese restaurant that is otherwise closed during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on January 09, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. Authorities are extending and tightening the current hard lockdown beyond January 10 as daily Covid-19 infection rates and deaths remain high.

Yelp has launched a new feature that allows its users to weigh in on how well a business follows safety measures in response to COVID-19 that has taken so much toll on humanity. 

Many sectors are affected, including restaurants that shut down or limit their service amid the pandemic. But with the rolling out of the COVID-19 vaccine, some restrictions were lifted, and many people already enjoy going out.

Some restaurants and food establishments have also reopened, slowly getting up. In response to this, the mobile app Yelp adds a feature that allows users to report local restaurants that do not abide by COVID-19 safety protocols.

Founded in 2004, the app is a well-known directory for local businesses such as cafes, bars, and restaurants. Lifewire shares that this app also includes salons, spas, and gas stations. Usually, people in Yelp write reviews on the establishment they've been at to support the business.

Read also: Adults With COVID-19 Twice Likely to Dine Out At A Restaurant, CDC Says

Yelp New Feature

With the reopening of some establishments amid COVID-19, Yelp now allows its users to report if a restaurant they have visited practices the safety measure against coronavirus.

The Daily Mail reports that the companies who were observed to follow guidelines such as social distancing and wearing masks will receive a green check, while those who do not follow them will get an orange question mark.

But according to a The Philadelphia Tribune report, Yelp says that several criteria must be met before it warns people about a specific establishment, including the multiple complaints from their users logged in to their account. To mitigate the app's potential misuse, MSN adds that the ratings will apply if there is an agreement between people who reported the restaurant.

Head of Consumer Product, Akhil Kuduvalli, mentions in Yelp's official blog that the reason for adding this feature is because the consumers' health and safety is their utmost priority, alongside their way of helping local businesses. Kuduvalli adds that it is vital for businesses to inform their customers about their current offerings, alongside their health and safety practices. 

MSN notes that the question mark icon is already displayed on a few hundred businesses out of millions on Yelp.

How Does the New Yelp Features Work?

The Daily Mail points out that users may now be able to report if they witness a staff or anyone in the crew wearing masks and maintaining social distancing or practicing the opposite. But it does not only apply to restaurants.

The Daily Mail adds that users can also post a report on nightlife, retail, food and beauty business, professional services, and automotive. In worry of businesses that some customers may only get back at them, MSN shares that 4,000 reviews between March and December were removed because they did not follow the content guidelines.

In the new feature added to the app, the company utilizes advanced technology to monitor and stop potential misuse. Now that Yelp has this feature on their app, restaurants and other establishments can now easily be monitored if they abide by the COVID-19 safety protocols. 

Related article: Even More Michigan Restaurants Receive COVID-19 License Suspensions, Fines, and Restraining Orders

WATCH: New Yelp feature allows users to weigh in on if businesses are following COVID-19 guidelines from CBS 8 San Diego

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