Yelp announced Thursday that restaurant, food, bar and nightlife businesses will now have the ability to add their vaccination policies and requirements to their Yelp profiles. Operators will be able to add these free attributes, “proof of vaccination required” and “staff fully vaccinated” and users can also filter by these attributes when searching for businesses.
“With the spread of the Delta variant, we’re seeing an increasing number of businesses implement new health and safety measures to keep their employees and communities safe,” a Yelp spokesperson said in a statement. “However, in recent weeks we’ve seen a rise in reviews focused on people’s stance on COVID vaccinations rather than their first-hand experience with the business.”
Yelp said that they have extensive protocols in place to protect businesses that choose to use these tools, and will be monitoring businesses that choose to add these features in case they receive negative feedback based on their vaccination policy choices, which goes against Yelp’s policies.
Yelp has thus far placed 100 “unusual activity” alerts on business pages this year, resulting in the removal of 4,500 reviews since January for “review bombing” a place of business based on their vaccination stance rather than the quality of their business and have removed nearly 8,000 reviews in total for speaking solely on the basis of a restaurant’s COVID-19 policy.
Yelp similarly monitored their business pages for “review bombing” backlash when they instituted the “Black-owned” attribute last June, along with other identity attributes, such as Latinx-owned, Asian-owned, and LGBTQ-owned.
Businesses are also still able to add attributes to their pages if they currently require masks from customers and staff, by activating the “masks required” and “staff wears masks” features.
Customers or businesses can report suspicious reviews that go against Yelp policy here.
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