What is a COVID-19 surcharge and how does it work?

What is a COVID-19 surcharge and how does it work
Posted at 2:28 PM, Jun 23, 2020

With businesses around the country reopening, customers may notice an additional expense on their bill: a COVID-19 surcharge.

This new surcharge is popping up around the country and is an extra fee that businesses can add to a bill to help alleviate the financial burden placed upon them during the virus outbreak. It is meant to help offset losses due to businesses having to temporarily close, or help businesses keep up with the new requirements to reopen under health guidelines.

The practice of adding an additional surcharge is legal for businesses although it may feel sneaky to customers without prior notification.

"Businesses would have to make decisions on their own," Kern County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop told KERO-TV. "Simply having something on the bill at the end of the night that addresses something like a COVID-19 surcharge, possibly in addition to having signage in the restaurant, maybe something on the menu upfront."

Adding a surcharge to the bill isn't the only option to help businesses during this time of reopening. Businesses could choose to raise prices overall. This has already been seen in some restaurants where expenses such as food supplies and third-party delivery fees, like DoorDash and GrubHub, have gone up considerably.

Alsop points out that as a business, communicating with your customers might be the best way to maintain trust and keep your customers coming back during this difficult time.

"If I'm a business owner, customers are my livelihood," he said. "Those I think are points where you can engage your customers and talk to them about your business decisions."

This story originally reported by Veronica Morley on