Cities like New York City, San Francisco and New Orleans are moving to enact COVID-19 vaccination requirements for indoor dining. So OpenTable, the online restaurant reservation service, is rolling out features to help restaurants streamline vaccination checks. Today, OpenTable announced a partnership with the biometric security company CLEAR, which allows users to create a digital vaccine card.
CLEAR built its company through a subscription service that expedites airport security by asking users to scan their eyes and face to verify their identity. But since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CLEAR launched a free service called Health Pass that provides users with their proof of vaccination. OpenTable will roll out its integration with CLEAR’s digital vaccine card starting in September on OpenTable’s iOS and Android apps.
After you make a reservation at a restaurant with vaccine requirements, a banner for CLEAR will appear at the top of the confirmation page. When you click the banner, you can create a CLEAR digital vaccine card. Then, when it’s time to eat, you can pull up your digital vaccine card by clicking the CLEAR button on the reservations confirmation page. OpenTable says it will not store personal health information or vaccination card data.
CLEAR has a network of vaccine providers and pharmacies with which it can cross-check a user’s vaccine information, or users can scan their Smart-QR code, which is provided to people vaccinated in New York, California or at a Walmart. While those two options are digitally verified, CLEAR also allows users to upload their information from their physical CDC vaccination card, which is not as secure, since there’s no added layer of verification.
“CLEAR uses image recognition to recognize that a photo is of a CDC vaccine card, adding an additional layer of security against fraud. Throughout the process, CLEAR’s digital vaccine card is tied directly to a user’s verified identity, helping to deter fraud,” a representative from CLEAR told TechCrunch. To use the app, users must upload a government-issued ID and take a selfie to verify their identity.
These forms of digital verification might help protect against people who may be using fake vaccine cards or photos of other people’s cards, especially if restaurants aren’t cross-checking customers’ vaccine cards with their IDs. New York uses an app called Excelsior Pass, which allows users to verify their vaccination status with their health records, but Hawaii is the only other state that has implemented similar technology — such practices are banned in many states.
Earlier this month, OpenTable added features that allow restaurants to add “Proof of Vaccination” as a Safety Precaution on their restaurant profile page, and individual diners can “get verified” as having met requirements for entry at individual restaurants or restaurant groups. So, if you proved your vaccination status at your favorite taco spot one time, the next time you’re back, you won’t have to present your vaccine card again. This only applies to individual diners, not their entire party. OpenTable also recently added a direct message feature, which people can use to communicate with restaurants about changing dining restrictions.