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Author: Niki Burt, Yelp Indy Senior Community Manager

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has altered every aspect of our lives in the last few weeks. Businesses of every kind—and particularly restaurants and bars—have been hit especially hard by voluntary and official measures to slow the spread of the virus. Local businesses are Yelp’s lifeblood, and we want to do what we can to help them during this extremely challenging time. On March 20, Yelp announced $25 million in relief, primarily focused on supporting independent, local restaurant and nightlife businesses, in the form of waived advertising fees and free advertising, products, and services during this period.

Even as we roll out this relief program, we’re continuing to explore ways we can do more to support local businesses. In the meantime, check your eligibility for the free offerings, then implement these 6 impactful tools to share your ever-changing business updates with the community on Yelp:

  1. Update your hours: We recommend changing your business’ hours to either ‘Temporarily Closed’ or ‘Special Hours’ so that customers can see the temporary change. Special Hours are set on a day-by-day basis and can be changed at any time.
  2. Edit your new COVID-19 banner: A COVID-19 Advisory Alert is being displayed at the top of all Yelp Business Pages. You can now edit this alert to help you communicate specific updates about your business in response to COVID-19. If you don’t provide a custom message, a generic banner will be shown (pictured in the light blue rectangle in the image below). Here are great examples of ways businesses have been utilizing them.
  3. Update the call-to-action on your page: The Call to Action can be used to update your customers on current offers and services, and motivate them to contact you in the way that works best for your business. The Call to Action includes a customizable description and a clickable button that either directs customers to visit a page on your website or call you directly—you choose.
  4. Select new COVID-19 business highlights: New badges allow you to showcase your business’s availability and offerings during COVID-19 such as ‘COVID-19 curbside’ or ‘gift cards’. Up to six badges will be displayed on your business page, the first two being displayed with your business in Yelp search results too. You can change your Business Highlights or re-order them at any time.
  5. Add your new virtual service offerings: Choose from new service offerings such as virtual classes, consultations, tours, etc. that showcase the ways your business is available online. 
  6. Start Yelp Connect to get updates + emails sent to customers: Yelp Connect is a way to communicate and share updates with new and existing customers. For example, if you are temporarily closed, but still offering take-out or delivery, you can share that update with this feature (see great examples of restaurants using Connect). 

Have any questions on the above? Email your local community manager at niki@yelp.com. She’s happy to give individual help or advice, as well as share any of your changes, updates, or photos on @yelpindy social media. Thinking of you all! 

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