Restaurants, businesses turning to COVID surcharge to make up for pandemic expenses

State - Regional

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Have you have noticed a COVID-19, personal protective equipment (PPE) surcharge expense on your bill after eating out or visiting a business lately?

If so, you’re not alone. It’s something that is becoming more popular around the country due to the pandemic, and Lowcountry diners are taking note.

A patron at a Lowcountry restaurant recently received a 2% surcharge, and some businesses are charging even more.

Customers say the extra charge came as a surprise when they received their bill. And some were not pleased:

“If they are struggling and they are needing more money to help, there’s other ways to do it than just charging the customers,” says tourist Peggy Maxwell. “Start a GoFundMe, do something.”

Maxwell believes most customers would be willing to pay the additional fee if told about it first.

“I understand that there could be some extra charges that people have to recoup things from but I don’t think it’s a great idea if you don’t tell your customers because you want those customers coming back,” says Maxwell.

She continued, saying “putting it on there without telling anyone — I don’t think that’s the best option — and I think it might make people angry and I think right now you don’t want people not coming into your restaurant,

Signs, social media or verbal communication are all ways Maxwell believes restaurants could communicate the change. Maxwell say’s it wouldn’t take much keep customers informed.

“That should be something that maybe you posted on your window or it was something that I know when you have the digital menu, there’s popups just to let people know,” says Maxwell.

News 2 has reached out to the Lowcountry restaurant but has yet to hear back from the establishment. We will provide updates, should the restaurant provide comment.

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