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OpenTable enlists Clear to verify vaccination status at restaurants

August 23, 2021, 1:00 PM UTC

OpenTable is partnering with Clear to add the airport security specialist’s digital vaccine card for proof of vaccination at restaurants.

The news comes as many major cities across the U.S.—including New York, New Orleans, and San Francisco—as well as countries across the European Union have begun to mandate proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 before entry for indoor dining.

But diners shouldn’t necessarily expect an airport security–like check-in process when walking up to the host stand at their local eatery. The partnership doesn’t involve Clear’s white kiosks with eye-scanning technology and a pricey subscription, but rather just complimentary use of a couple of mobile apps.

To date, more than 300 restaurants on OpenTable have instituted this safety precaution. (For reference, OpenTable says it seats more than 1 billion people per year across more than 60,000 restaurants, bars, wineries, and other venues.) And as concerns continue to rise around the Delta variant, more cities and restaurants nationwide are expected to follow. A representative for OpenTable tells Fortune that this partnership aims to help restaurants and diners adjust to new regulations and speed up entry and seating, saving time for both parties.

Overall demand has been decreasing, according to OpenTable, after seeing positive numbers climb back for the first time in May since 2019. The number of seated diners in the U.S. was down 10% on Aug. 20, compared with mid-June.

“While this is still nowhere near the steep declines we saw at the height of pandemic restrictions, it’s clear that rising COVID-19 cases and new safety regulations are having an impact on restaurants once again,” the spokesperson says.

Restaurant diners can go about making reservations via the OpenTable mobile app, and the restaurant listing should note vaccine requirements (if not already mandated by the city or county). The diner will find a “Clear” banner on the reservation confirmation page, and by clicking on the banner, the diner will be linked to an information page, where there will be instructions on how to create a Clear digital vaccine card—which up until now has been primarily intended for streamlined, preapproved entry into airport terminals.

The app securely connects a person’s verified identity to his or her proof of vaccination from hundreds of vaccine providers and pharmacies, including Walmart, the Atlantic Health System, and the states of California and New York. And OpenTable says it will not store vaccination card data or other personal health information through this feature, unless voluntarily provided by the diner to the restaurant. The partnership comes just a week after OpenTable launched its new verified for entry safety precaution as well.

Like making a reservation on OpenTable, use of Clear’s digital vaccine card is free for everyone. (Full use of Clear services starts at $179 per year for access to airports and stadiums.) The OpenTable integration will be available for both iPhone and Android in September.

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