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Businesses can signal they don't discriminate

Yelp added feature that declare 'Open to all'

Room Service

Jennie Doran and her husband, Andrew Gorell, who together run a boutique in Cleveland called Room Service, signed the Open to All pledge and earned a blue window sticker.
Room Service Jennie Doran and her husband, Andrew Gorell, who together run a boutique in Cleveland called Room Service, signed the Open to All pledge and earned a blue window sticker.

Businesses can now declare themselves inclusive with a click of the mouse.

Yelp on Tuesday debuted a feature that allows businesses to label themselves “Open to all” online, signaling that they do not discriminate against customers or employees on the basis of gender, race or sexual orientation, among other factors.

The new option comes as part of a larger campaign that is urging business owners nationwide to publicly vow to serve customers from all backgrounds and display signs declaring themselves inclusive.

Yelp was one of several big-name companies to align itself with the more than 1,200 businesses and cities that already had joined the Open to All coalition on Tuesday.

Airbnb, Lyft and Levi Strauss also signed up.

This kind of campaign once would have been seen as unnecessary, Open to All spokeswoman Calla Rongerude said on a phone call with reporters Tuesday. But times have changed.

“In 2018, it’s shocking that many people of color, LGBTQ people, people of minority faith and others still can’t be sure they won’t be discriminated against when they seek goods or services from businesses in their local communities,” Rongerude said.

“No one should have to worry about whether they will be denied service.”

Open to All launched in late 2017 to call attention to a case then about to come before the U.S. Supreme Court — the Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

About six months later, the court sent the case back to the lower courts, declining to rule at that time on whether a business owner can cite his or her religious beliefs to refuse to offer services to gay people.

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Since then, cases of businesses refusing to serve certain people continue to make headlines. There was the florist in Washington state who would not provide flowers for a wedding between two men in Indiana, the Florida gun store owner who declared his business “Muslim free” and, more recently, the owner of the Virginia restaurant who asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave the premises due to her political alliances

Jennie Doran, the owner of Room Service, a boutique that sells home goods in Cleveland, said Open to All offers the perfect way to broadcast her beliefs to customers.

“It’s something that we are very passionate about,” she said. “This is something that I feel it is necessary for me to be a part of, if we can leverage that exposure to express to the world that discrimination is not acceptable and my business will not partake of it.”

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