What To Know About The New COVID-19 Surcharges

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It’s no secret that businesses have been suffering ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now that select retail businesses are allowed to reopen, you might want to take a look at your receipt to see if you’re paying a COVID-19 surcharge.

These COVID-19 surcharges are meant to cover the business’ cost of masks, sanitizer, cleaning products, etc. that have doubled in price over the past few months.

Even with businesses reopening, the numbers won’t go back to “normal” overnight and these retailers need help bouncing back. According to CBC, a steakhouse in Missouri garnered attention when it charged a customer a $2.19 COVID-19 surcharge.

It’s important to note that these extra COVID charges aren’t only popping up south of the border.

One hair salon in Manitoba has re-opened it’s doors but due to social distancing guidelines, it can only accommodate a limited amount of clients at a time as well as half the amount of staff. All this while the cost of PPE has doubled in price means that it’s not all “business as usual.”

It also seems that there aren’t set guidelines or rules on what these businesses can charge.

David Newman, owner of “Hair by David & Co.”, a salon on Richmond Street in Toronto told Global News, “Some people are charging more, some people are charging a bit less. We came up with the number because it pays to cover the basic cost of what we’re going to use…”

While these new COVId-19 charges are definitely a new adjustment for us consumers, it’s important for these businesses to get the help they need in order for them to continue operating as normal as possible but transparency about what folks are paying for is key.

covid surcharge
Instagram/@hairbydavidandco

David Soberman, professor of marketing at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto told CTV, “Transparency is not an option for a business — it’s an obligation,”

“Companies need to make it clear what consumers will be expected to pay before they engage the business. And if they don’t, I would go as far as to say they have every right to refuse to pay.”​ 

These new COVID-19 surcharges are a delicate balance as it might scare off potential customers who are experiencing some major belt-tightening themselves, however these businesses do need all the help they can get right now.

Time will only tell what’s in store (literally) for retail businesses in the time of COVID.

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