Yelp adds 'contact-free' delivery option to help aid restaurants during coronavirus

The new feature comes through a partnership with Grubhub and arrives next week.

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Yelp is the latest company looking to aid small businesses hit by the coronavirus.

Screenshot by Anne Dujmovic/CNET

As the world continues to deal with the ongoing fallout of the coronavirus, Yelp is the latest company to try to help local restaurants weather the storm. On Friday the site announced its latest efforts, including adding the ability for restaurants to specify if they offer a "contact-free" delivery option and easier ways for businesses to signal they have online services. 

The delivery feature will arrive next week, the company said in a blog post, and comes through its partnership with online food ordering service Grubhub. The feature will be added in iOS and Android app updates, allowing users to more easily see if the food they want can be delivered without human contact when looking to order. 

A number of services and stores including DoorDash, Grubhub and Domino's have rolled out the option in recent weeks to help fight the spread of the virus while still delivering food.

In addition to adding the contact-free option, Yelp says it's working to add functionality that will allow businesses to more easily indicate if they're open for delivery or takeout. 

To assist companies that have switched operations to online classes, consultations or performances, Yelp says it will "soon" release a new service to help make those businesses easier to find online. 

Yelp is the latest company looking to help small businesses survive the pandemic. Earlier this week Facebook pledged $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to "up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries" where the service operates. 

Yelp says it will offer $25 million in relief to support "independent local restaurant and nightlife businesses" by waiving advertising fees and offering free advertising, products and services. That includes $100 in "free search advertising" for restaurants that offer delivery or takeout. 

Known for its user reviews, the site also says it will actively protect businesses from reviews that could have "reputational harm related to these extraordinary circumstances" and that it has a "zero tolerance for any claims in reviews of contracting COVID-19 from a business or its employees."

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