Is your favorite takeout spot COVID-safe? Find out on Yelp

Masked chef prepares food for customer in fast-casual restaurant
Photo: Horacio Villalobos (Getty Images)

My gyro guy refuses to wear his PPE mask over his nose. He simply will not do it. Does this suck? Yes. Does this prevent me from picking up my weekly Thursday gyro? Alas, it does not. But now, less forgiving patrons can log his COVID-y discrepancies in Yelp. Yesterday, the company announced a new feature that allows reviewers to provide detailed feedback on how well specific restaurants adhere to COVID-19 health and safety practices like social distancing and mask-wearing.


Yelp’s new feedback system won’t actually affect a restaurant’s overall score, reports Restaurant Hospitality. It will, however, categorize COVID-compliant restaurants the same way the app highlights “kid-friendly” and “romantic” restaurants. Restaurants can now also add information about pandemic measures like heated outdoor seating and contactless menus to their business pages to keep guests informed.

Of course, we all know that a single miffed anti-masker can torpedo a restaurant’s online reviews. That’s why Yelp implemented safeguards to keep users honest. COVID feedback must meet the following criteria:

  • The COVID-19 section will only include data from the last 28 days
  • The business must receive “several user responses with consensus from multiple users” on social distancing and mask-wearing
  • Only verified Yelp users logged into their accounts can provide feedback
  • User feedback will only appear for the location relevant to the review (this mostly applies to franchises)

Restaurants that have received positive feedback on COVID-19 regulations enforcement will see a green checkmark indicating their compliance. If a restaurant gets a fair amount of negative feedback, an orange question mark will appear on the restaurant’s page with a corresponding message indicating the issue at hand. Of course, if users are really worried about COVID precautions at restaurants, the best move is to opt for takeout or delivery. Like, just... just get takeout. Keeps you safe, keeps restaurant workers safe. Keeps the gyro man’s nose out of your face. Everybody wins.


Burners Baby Burners: Discussion Inferno

Question 1: Is this restaurant in public?

If the answer is “yes,” business is not COVID-safe.

This is only degrees of unsafety at this point. Trusting my fellow Yelpers to decide good safety practices is a losing battle, the amount of mercurial whining and petty nonsense that comes out of the majority of their posts is astonishing. I wouldn’t trust these people in either direction, some will answer a business is safe because they like the presentation of their food in the container; others will say a business is unsafe because they didn’t think it was fair to pay sales tax on the transaction.

“But they spend so much time wiping down the counters” - if only that mattered even a little, Doris.