Businesses Turn to Charging COVID-19 Surcharge


WINDSOR — As more and more businesses incur additional costs to operate due to COVID-19, some businesses are turning to charging a COVID-19 surcharge or fee to their customers.

Businesses that have been allowed to reopen have had to sanitize regularly to keep the workplace safe, provide staff with personal protective equipment and in some cases, provide hand sanitizer to customers who walk through the doors.

Speaking on AM800's the Dan MacDonald Show, Marketing professor at the University of Toronto David Soberman says it is allowed, but businesses should inform customers beforehand so they know what their bill will be.

"Where there is an issue is when people are not informed about the charge and it appears afterwards on the bill," he says.  "That's a different situation."

He says there is no doubt, it costs more now to run a business.

"Companies from retailers to restaurants, companies that are offering transportation services have incurred increased costs to provide the service that people want."

He adds the only thing the company does not have to notify people about is the HST as "it is assumed that it is charged on everything."

Soberman notes one of the hardest things to do on existing customers is to raise the price, so anytime there is a  way to justify a price increase, it may be something to take advantage of.

The response on the Dan MacDonald Show was mixed.  

While some sympathized with business owners saying they have no choice, others believe customers are paying enough and taxes are already too high.