Yelp letting businesses mark whether they’re requiring vaccines

Yelp also protecting businesses against 'review bombing' over pandemic safety measures

Business owners on Yelp are now able to help their customers know how they’re handling the coronavirus pandemic amid the spread of the delta variant.

The crowd-sourced app rolled out two new attributes for business listings on Thursday, "Proof of vaccination required" and "All staff fully vaccinated." 

The information will appear on the pages of businesses that use them and users will be able to filter their search results using those attributes, the San Francisco-based company said in its announcement. 

"We are committed to providing consumers with reliable and useful information to help them decide where to spend their money," Yelp said.

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Yelp vaccination search

Yelp rolled out two new attributes for business listings Thursday, "Proof of vaccination required" and "All staff fully vaccinated."  (Yelp)

Yelp said it was also putting additional measures in place to protect businesses from "review bombing" – when many people leave critical reviews for a business that gained unusual public attention – over their stances on COVID-19 safety practices. 

The website said it has seen an increase in review-bombing incidents since the start of the pandemic and that its moderators have removed nearly 8,000 reviews for violating its COVID-19 content guidelines, which prevent criticizing a business’ vaccination requirements.

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"When a business gains public attention, people often come to Yelp to express their views on the matter" the company said. "Mitigating against these ‘review bombing’ events has become a significant issue for online review platforms."

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The move by Yelp comes as more businesses are requiring employees and customers to be vaccinated and as many are once again requiring masks.

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The highly contagious delta variant now accounts for 93% of U.S. coronavirus cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In June, 99.5% of COVID-19 deaths were in unvaccinated people, preliminary CDC data show.

So far, 49.8% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 58% have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the CDC.