It appears that the ability to respond to Google reviews has been turned back on by Google. We have tested via the API, the GMB App and the GMB dashboard and all three methods now are capable of publishing review responses in near real time. H/T to Kyle Harris at DAC Group for the heads up.
As recently as yesterday, this was not the case. We do not know if this is a “permanent” change or a temporary capability.
If this capability “sticks” it could portend the beginning of the return of full review functions in the Google My Business world. Reviews stopped publishing on March 20 and responses were stopped shortly after that when Google moved all remaining staff to focus on Covid related issues.
Hopefully the ability to respond is the first step back to full review functionality.