Yelp adds COVID vaccine requirements on business listings
To enter my local yoga studio, I need to present proof of vaccination. I use my California COVID-19 vaccine digital record, but as a sandwich board outside the studio explains, any proof will work, like the CDC paper card, or even a photo of the card.
Starting Thursday, the sandwich board will be slightly less necessary, because the studio can post this and other vaccine-related information to a prominent section of its Yelp listing, and in its info section. The review app will start including vaccine requirement labels alongside other vital information on business pages.
A claimed business can mark fields for “Proof of vaccination required” and “All staff fully vaccinated.” Only the Yelp account of the business itself can add the labels to its official listing. So even if I know my yoga studio requires vaccination proof, I can’t edit it myself — Wikipedia this is not.
The new feature also allows users to search for businesses that have marked that their employees are vaccinated or require proof of inoculation. Those options will come up under “Filters” on the app or website, as seen below.
Find a vaccinated business.
In an effort to quell backlash against businesses going all-in on vaccination proof, Yelp is announcing an additional change: It is now monitoring for vaccine-related comments in reviews and performing content moderation. Reviews based only on a business’ health and safety practices and its stance on vaccinations will be flagged and those pages will be marked with an “Unusual Activity” alert. Already, over 100 of these alerts have gone up on Yelp pages and nearly 4,500 reviews have been pulled for violating Yelp policy.
How NYC confused everyone over its not-an-app vaccination ‘pass’
Another big online business directory, Google Maps, has a “health & safety” section on business listings too, but no mention of vaccination policies as of yet. It lays out all measures the restaurant, shop, grocery store, or bar is taking. For example a local produce shop near me lists on its Google Maps page: “mask required,” “staff required to disinfect surfaces between visits,” and “safety dividers at checkout.”
Google doesn’t have plans yet to add vaccination information on Maps business profiles, but it’ll continue offering information about masks, outdoor dining, and other COVID safety measures.