Restaurant reservation service OpenTable has added a new feature that lets restaurants tag diners as “verified” for meeting their entry requirements. This is most obviously going to be used to log guests who have been vaccinated for COVID-19, though the feature could be used for other entry requirements.
The feature is really meant to make the reservation process easier for repeat customers. A restaurant would need to verify a diner’s proof of vaccination on their first visit, after which future reservations would go smoother.
OpenTable isn’t going to share a diner’s vaccine status across restaurants — only a single restaurant will be able to verify a diner’s status and tag them in its system.
Vaccine mandates — Several cities across the U.S. including San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York City are implementing vaccine mandates for attending indoor public spaces, including dining, so OpenTable’s new system could help smooth things out.
Of course, some cohort of people have decried such mandates, but businesses that have been decimated by the pandemic see them as a necessary step to increasing vaccination rates and preventing new closures. Businesses can’t afford to withstand another financial hit after the past year. And by getting vaccinated, people are preventing further hospitalizations and unnecessary deaths.
OpenTable says that more than 31 million diners book restaurant reservations through its service each month (a pre-pandemic statistic, surely), so implementing a vaccine verification system could go a long way toward furthering the push to get everyone vaccinated.