As businesses begin to reopen, many have added a COVID-19 surcharge to bills

As businesses begin to reopen they must adapt to a new reality. In addition to adhering to social distancing guidelines, they must also make sure their businesses maintain a certain level of cleanliness.

This might involve added expenses, which for many might be difficult to afford especially after being closed for several months.

In order to help absorb those costs, some businesses are adding a surcharge. Business owners hope the money they receive from the fee will help offset what they spend for all the added costs.

“It’s not a tax. It’s basically just a small percentage to cover all of our extra expenses,” Bootleggers BBQ owner Brian Staack told KY3.

In the beginning of May, several restaurants in West Plains, Missouri began adding a 5 percent surcharge to compensate for the rising cost of operating their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our filet prices, our rib eyes, most of our customer steak and even our shrimp now is becoming double in price. Plus, our chicken,” Sarah Sherwood, the manager at KiKo Japanese Steakhouse, said.

While these particular restaurants in Missouri have agreed to temporarily charge customers a 5 percent fee, other businesses around the country have begun to charge varied amounts and some for specific reasons.

A salon in Houston is charging clients a $3 “sanitation charge.” According to local reports, a Florida dentist is charging a $10 fee per appointment. That fee is for PPE.

“Trying to reopen a practice with limited amounts of PPE available is quite difficult at this time. To absorb the losses of our office being closed for seven weeks, I have first and foremost taken a personal pay cut, laid off several of my staff, and have made adjustments in pricing (as recommended by the American Dental Association),” Dr. Staci Suggs said in a statement.

Meanwhile other restaurants are simply adding $1 to every bill due to the loss of foot traffic.

Overall, customers are onboard with a COVID-19 surcharge. But since there’s currently no end in sight to the pandemic, there’s also no telling when the fees will end.

“I absolutely support it, Maylee Stewart told KY3. I think it’s a good thing for us as a community to help support our local businesses. It’s really not a lot. They’re really not adding too much on to the total. I think mine was 66 cents today and I’d pay more if they needed it.”

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