- OpenTable has partnered with secure identity company Clear to enable diner to more easily show proof of vaccination at restaurants that require it, according to a company announcement.
- Diners who make an OpenTable reservation at a restaurant that requires proof of vaccination will be directed to a Clear banner that they can click on to create a digital vaccine card. The card is free and securely connects a diner's verified identity to their proof of vaccination.
- The partnership comes a few weeks after OpenTable expanded its safety requirements feature to include vaccine requirement tags, a feature similar to Yelp's "proof of vaccination required" and "all staff fully vaccinated" tags.
The partnership with Clear builds on OpenTable's "verified for entry" feature, which enables restaurants to tag diners once they have shown proof of vaccination. Once those diners are tagged, they are cleared for entry at that restaurant or any eatery within the same restaurant group going forward and don't need to show their vaccine card a second time.
Features like this help businesses more easily enforce quickly changing COVID-19 safety restrictions. Vaccination requirements have taken effect in San Francisco, New Orleans and New York City, for example, and restaurants in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia are rolling out restrictions of their own as well. The feature also helps consumers by providing them with a quick solution to prove their vaccine status as more restrictions are implemented.
"Our partnership with Clear furthers our commitment to help both restaurants and diners navigate dining out in the next chapter of the pandemic," OpenTable CEO Debby Soo said in a statement. "This collaboration aims to streamline restaurant entry, saving time for both restaurant staff and diners and lets everyone focus on the meal — not the logistics."
As vaccination requirements ramp up across the country, demand for such tools will also likely increase. New York City created an NYC COVID Safe app and New York State created an Excelsior app to help consumers prove their vaccination status. There is also a growing market of "vaccine passport" apps, and Apple's software update scheduled for the fall will include an upgraded Health app to store vaccination records. Google is also now supporting a digital vaccine card for Android users.
Despite efforts to make the proof of vaccination process easier, restaurants still risk losing potential customers if they implement a vaccine requirement. Currently, just 52% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, and nearly one-third of diners say they would leave a restaurant if asked to present proof of vaccination. There is also a risk of restaurant employees experiencing increased harassment over asking diners for proof of vaccination.