Google Local and Yelp Still List Businesses as Open after Natural Disasters such as Hurricane Harvey

During Holidays such as Labor Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Memorial Day Yelp and Google give business owners the ability to set “special hours”. They both added this feature around late 2015, back when I wrote How to Add your Business’s Holiday Hours to Google Maps.

Since many business owners do not go in and configure the business hours, Google will display a message on these and other holidays which give users a heads up that the hours are subject to change due to the holiday.

What about natural disasters?

As of August 2017, Google and Yelp do not post a notice telling users that a business may be closed due to the occurrence of a natural disaster. This could be helpful and useful to local users attempting to find things such as supplies, water, generators, fuel, food and/or medical assistance.

Hurricane Harvey has and is currently in the process of causing catastrophic damage along the Texas coast. Google has the data of where the flooding is with their helpful “crisis maps”.

Screenshot of a map from Google Crisis Response.

Should Google and Yelp listed businesses as potentially closed?

Or do people already assume that the businesses may be closed?

What if you’re looking for the nearest business selling food and have filtered your results by “open now”? Would you want to know that nearby Round Rock Texas is still open?

Just thinking out loud here. I do hope and pray that everyone in Texas recovers from this as quickly as possible. I can’t imagine what they’re going through down there.

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