Aug. 11, 2020 — “I’ve been vaccinated for two months. I’ll be there!”
“Such a great call.”
“Discrimination and segregation always worked so well in the past, why not repeat it!”
These are just a few examples of the types of online reactions that restaurants have received after taking the bold move to require vaccines, something that may happen more often now with Yelp’s two new features.
Businesses now have the option to add “Proof of vaccination required” and “All staff fully vaccinated” features to their Yelp pages for free.
Businesses’ concerns about the Delta variant played a major role in the decision, according to a statement by Noorie Malik, vice president of user operations at Yelp.
Malik also explained how Yelp plans to handle any chaos that arises, especially given the controversial nature of vaccinations, COVID-19 safety measures, and the pandemic in general.
City Winery, a live music venue, restaurant, and urban winery with locations across the country, requires that customers either show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entry.
Customers with neither have the option to take a $15 rapid test or dine on the outdoor patio.
City Winery was one of the first Atlanta restaurants to have COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
Laura A. Albers, vice president of marketing for City Winery, supports Yelp’s new move.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she says. “I think one of the things we can do is make people aware of our policies in advance so that they’re not shocked or surprised when they come to the door.”
Albers also thinks Yelp’s new features could lead to more businesses following suit and enforcing stronger COVID-19 safety policies, like vaccine requirements or proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
“I think more restaurants and venues will join forces and do the same, the more they see other places doing it,” she says.
Albers says City Winery has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers. There has been a little pushback, but the new surge in cases may cause wary customers to see the new safety measures in a different light, she says.
“Since another week has gone by and people have seen the uptick in the Delta variant, this policy is not as foreign as it was,” Albers says. “I think people are becoming more accustomed to it.”