To help consumers understand how a business is currently operating as pandemic guidelines continue to evolve, Yelp is adding two new, free attributes – “Proof of vaccination required” and “All staff fully vaccinated.”
Users will be able to filter by these attributes when searching for local businesses on Yelp and will easily see “Proof of vaccination required” indicated on restaurant, food and nightlife businesses in search results.
To help protect businesses that may experience backlash for their vaccination policies, Yelp said they will be proactively monitoring Yelp pages of businesses that activate these attributes.
“Yelp’s Content Guidelines require that all reviews be based on a first-hand consumer experience,” said Yelp Vice President of User Operations Noorie Malik on Yelp’s official blog. “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. When a business gains public attention, people often come to Yelp to express their views on the matter. Mitigating against these “review bombing” events has become a significant issue for online review platforms, which is why Yelp has heavily invested to address this phenomenon for years through our Consumer Alerts program.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve placed Unusual Activity Alerts on a Yelp page when we uncover an influx of activity in response to a business gaining public attention for their stance on COVID health and safety practices — including requiring vaccinations for employees and/or customers,” Malik said. “In fact, since January 2021, we’ve placed more than 100 Unusual Activity Alerts on Yelp pages related to these incidents, which has resulted in the removal of nearly 4,500 reviews for violating our content policies.”
For businesses that currently have an Unusual Activity Alert on their Yelp page, they can expect the alert to be removed once unusual activity on the business page has decreased or stopped. This can take from a few days to several weeks — the actual duration is determined once traffic on the business page has decreased.
Only businesses can add the “Proof of vaccination required” and “All staff fully vaccinated” attributes to their Yelp page.
To add the attribute, log into your Yelp for Business account and follow these steps:
- Go to the Business Information section
- Click Add (or Edit if you have existing content here) next to “Amenities and more”
- Click Yes next to the attribute you’d like to turn on
- Click Save Changes.
“Additionally, as pandemic guidelines have evolved since we first introduced our COVID-19 section, we’re refreshing the way that content is displayed on business pages to better provide the most up-to-date and useful information to consumers,” Malik said. “Businesses that currently require masks from customers and staff can activate “Masks required” and “Staff wears masks” attributes through their Yelp for Business account.”