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5 scenarios to use Yelp as a safety checkpoint

Consumer interest is steadily increasing, with more people leaving their homes to support the types of businesses they enjoyed before the COVID-19 shutdowns began. But with coronavirus cases spiking and a warning from states of more closures looming, it’s important that we venture out safely and with proper planning. 

To that end, we’ve matched up seven types of businesses we’ve seen having a surge in interest, as detailed in our recent Yelp Economic Average Report, with relevant safety measures to keep an eye out for when determining what businesses to visit. These safety measures can be found under the new “COVID-19 Updates” on businesses’ Yelp review pages. 

Yelp’s new safety features help businesses communicate the steps they’re taking and to allow consumers to be in control of the businesses they support and the situations they put themselves in. Businesses can indicate what safety measures they’re taking for free via Yelp for Business. Users can also help share this information by answering questions that pop up via the Yelp app. 

While businesses should ideally employ several of these safety measures and these measures should be used by many different types of businesses, we hope that this will give consumers information to keep top of mind when out in public. 

Tired of takeout and delivery, more diners are seeking a great sit-down meal experience, with German cuisine, live and raw food, French cuisine and steakhouses particularly seeing increases, according to Yelp data.

Why these safety measures are relevant: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that restaurants change layouts to limit capacity and ensure that all parties remain at least 6 feet apart to avoid coronavirus transmission. And restaurants have sought creative ways to do this, some even seating diners in individual greenhouses or placing mannequins in seats that should not be occupied. One pub in London has gone as far as to install a (not functioning) electric fence.

Yelp Waitlist is also being used as a tool to help restaurants ensure that capacity does not exceed safe levels and to help diners avoid crowded waiting areas or lines outside the door. New Yelp Waitlist front-of-house management features help monitor seating capacity and control wait times, and Yelp is now offering a contactless experience by providing restaurants with printable posters with QR codes that allow guests who haven’t already joined the online waitlist to easily scan the code and join through Yelp. 

Months at home can wreak havoc on hair and nails, not to mention make consumers crave some self care. So it’s not surprising that laser hair removal, massage, nail salons and blow dry/out services are seeing a boost in interest. 

Why these safety measures are relevant: To help customers stay safe, the CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. Surfaces and objects in public places should be cleaned and disinfected before each use. For beauty and spa businesses, this can include tables, chairs, countertops, sinks and spa bowls. 

Providing disinfectant to guests and allowing free cancellations are recommended as well. And some salons, including national companies like Drybar, also require temperature checks for customers, considering they are in such close proximity to stylists. 

As the weather gets warmer, people are turning to public markets, as well as flea markets and outlet stores. Souvenir shops are also seeing an increase in traffic, with people taking vacations.

Why these safety measures are relevant: Following CDC guidance, many states now mandate that people over a certain age wear masks when in public, enclosed spaces and spaces where people may stand within 6 feet of one another. This includes retail shops. But considering that mask guidelines vary by state, with some having businesses do the enforcement, it can help to see what is expected before stepping foot inside a business. 

Bonus: Many shops are also selling masks. Find a boutique, pharmacy, clothes store and even sporting goods shop on Yelp, and shop local even when buying masks to wear while out and about.  

Movers and home cleaning especially have seen renewed interest. And it’s important to make sure that the people who come into your home — including service companies — take precautions to ensure they’re not bringing coronavirus into your safe space. 

Why these safety measures are relevant: Moving companies have undertaken special protocols, which include having movers wear masks and gloves. One moving company even gives each crew a coronavirus safety kit at the beginning of each day that includes masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant and paper towels. 

Many housekeepers are taking similar measures. Other recommendations for consumers: Set expectations for social distancing and mask and glove usage before home cleaning begins; limit the rooms and surfaces they clean; go outside while they clean, and limit the number of housekeepers in the home at one time.  

Yelp data also shows people are heading back indoors for activities like axe throwing, escape games and boxing, while some people continue to flock to outdoor activities, like ziplining, ATV rentals and amusement parks.

Why this safety measure is relevant: To limit the spread of COVID-19, it’s important for amusement parks and active businesses to stock adequate supplies for handwashing, which include hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, according to the CDC. One study even found that free weights have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat — coronavirus or not, clean hands are key!

If possible, facilities should make hand sanitizer stations touch-free, and the stations should be located at entry and exit points, key thoroughfares, attractions, rides, games, popular fitness equipment, food and beverage concessions and outside restrooms, as feasible.

A few more tips for when you’re working out: Bring two towels (one to soak up sweat and one to place on equipment). Avoid hand contact with water fountain handles. Use water breaks as a reminder to sanitize hands. Oh, and avoid high fives. 

What experience are you looking to have in the near future? Search on Yelp for a business, and find these safety measures listed on review pages.