July 13, 2024

With tensions on the rise and the pandemic’s impact as strong as ever, businesses must consider COVID-19 safety to stay in business. 

Yelp announced in January that it now accepts COVID-19 reviews about restaurant safety.

Health and safety was always a concern, but this new measure by which we gauge a business may change the face of hospitality. 

Already struggling to meet federal expectations, the sector must  spend more on sanitization and mask enforcement. 

Forbes advised small businesses to “make sure” that they maintain their standards.

Yelp explained what things would be reported to their site in a recent blog post.

“Yelp will display if users observed, or did not observe, the enforcement of social distancing and staff wearing masks,” according to Yelp’s blog post.

It is up to the public to leave these reviews, and whether or not these reviews will hold weight is yet to be determined.

Marc Weniger, professor of business, is not sure if Yelp’s change in policy will be detrimental. He called it a “trend” that may soon dissipate.

“It is too early to tell,” Weniger said. “It is really a trend at this point …two or three years down the road we can tell, but at this point, it is hard to know anything.”

Danielle Penn, sophomore political science major, runs her own small business as a wedding photographer and sees the inside of many venues. 

However, Penn said she is not convinced that judging a business by its adherence to safety mandates is always prudent.

“If let’s say, an ‘underground-nightclub’ is going against state protocols, that’s questionable,” Penn said. “A business needs to survive by following protocols, like patio dining, I believe is just trying to survive. All of this is new to business owners and many are just trying to support their families.”

Similarly, Blake Kelley, freshman sports analytics major, said that COVID-19 safety should not be the end-all for a business.

“I don’t think (a business)  should be judged just off of that because that’s not taking into account the other factors, like the quality of service or food,”
Kelley said.

With the recent release of the COVID-19 vaccine, it remains to be seen if COVID-19 safety will remain an important facet of the small business lifestyle.

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