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How Google Maps will help you during the coronavirus outbreak

Published Mar 10th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
Google Maps Features
Image: XanderSt/Shutterstock

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  • Google Maps can be a helpful tool when it comes to dealing with business disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Google is advising business owners to update their Google Maps listings with specific information if affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Regular Google Maps users should check their favorite places on Google Maps for coronavirus-related business hours changes and other relevant information before going out.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus is here to stay for a while longer, now that several hot zones have been established out of China. The past two weeks saw an abrupt increase in new cases in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and even the US, and it might not slow down anytime soon. Italy is the best example of what the COVID-19 epidemic can do. The country went from 0 to nearly 10,000 cases in just over two weeks, and it’s now under lockdown, with northern Italy having been quarantined over the weekend. Things aren’t as bad in other countries, but we’re not out of the woods. Everyone should play their part when it comes to fighting this disease, by avoiding crowded events and traveling to high-risk countries, employing good personal hygiene measures, and stay in isolation whenever that’s necessary. If you’re healthy, you still need to go to work if working from home isn’t a possibility, and you still need to go out for food and supplies. Thankfully, technology can help with planning your fight against the virus, and Google Maps is one of the apps that could provide additional assistance.

Google’s popular mobile app isn’t just for navigation and directions. It can also help you discover places of interest around you, and provide more details about the businesses you have to interact with. And considering that the coronavirus outbreak will impact several businesses in the immediate future, Google Maps can help you decided whether venturing out to a certain place is worth doing.

Google set up a new help page that instructs business owners to provide customers with updated information if their companies are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak:

If your business is affected by COVID-19, update your Google My Business profile to provide the most accurate information to your customers. For example, change your hours of operation if you’re closing early, or add more details to your description. The updates will show on your Business Profile on Google Search and Maps.

Business owners will be able to update their business hours if they’re changed because of the epidemic. They’ll also be able to update their business descriptions in case their companies have been affected by the COVID-19 infections:

You can share information about any extra precautions the business is taking, if you’re providing any extra services to the community, or whether you’re experiencing delays

Other Maps updates business owners should consider include posts with more details about their business, such as details about their products and services available during the outbreak. Also, business owners are encouraged to provide an updated phone number so that customers can still reach them.

These are the kind of tips business owners should definitely consider if they plan on closing down their shops or reducing their activity in the coming weeks or months. Like I said before, it’s up to all of us to help reduce the risk of spreading the disease, as governments and health officials aren’t enough to fight the outbreak.

Just as business owners should definitely follow Google’s advice on this one, regular Google Maps users should consider using the app to search for updated information about some of their favorite restaurants, stores, and other businesses they might work with regularly, before venturing out to one.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.