Online reservations site OpenTable announced Monday new features designed to act as safety precautions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
While many places, including New York City, require or will soon require proof of vaccination for dining indoors, others do not, leaving the rules up to individual operators. Restaurants can now display their COVID-19 vaccine requirements on OpenTable, so consumers can know what to expect when making reservations.
The option is part of the site’s existing “Safety Precautions” feature, where restaurants can communicate what steps they are taking to ensure diners’ safety throughout the pandemic.
OpenTable has also launched direct messaging, letting diners and restaurants communicate directly after a reservation is made without a phone call. This allows both parties to confirm safety measures and requirements, and lets an operator relay any changes in policy. OpenTable said that more than 1,500 restaurants were using the feature.
“Our hope is that these new tools make it easier for restaurants to continue to welcome people in and help diners feel safe and informed about dining out,” said OpenTable CEO Debby Soo in a statement, noting that the company estimates dining demand in the U.S. is down 13% compared to a month ago.
OpenTable, which is part of Booking Holdings Inc., also has plans to launch a national list of restaurants requiring proof of vaccination.
Last week, Yelp announced similar measures, allowing restaurants to add tags like “proof of vaccination required” and “staff fully vaccinated” to their profiles on that site.
Contact Leigh Anne Zinsmeister at [email protected]