Some businesses are charging a COVID fee in Canada and here's what people think
Some businesses in Canada are now adding a "COVID fee" to their receipts in a bid to raise funds for masks, gloves, cleaning protocols and more as they reopen.
The surcharge — which ranges from 5 to 10 per cent at some salons — allows businesses to cover the cost of protective gear for employees, and/or income lost from reducing the number of customers a business is allowed to serve, per CTV News.
Hair salons, barbershops, restaurants and dental practices in British Columbia and Alberta are among some of the businesses already charging a COVID fee.
‘Scuse me ... what? A covid surcharge...? pic.twitter.com/IYcrkcqIJ3— Talia (@talialikeitis) May 11, 2020
So far, Canadians are divided over the controversial fee.
Provinces may be reopening their economies, but it doesn't mean that Canadians have extra money to spend; with 13 per cent of people out of a job, an extra $2.00 charge could be all the incentive some people need to skip their regular trim.
So businesses are getting:— Schtev🇨🇦 (@schtev69) May 23, 2020
*Interest-free loans partially repayable - taxpayers pay
*Wage subsidies - taxpayers pay
*Rent subsidies for 75% of the rent - taxpayers pay
Then they have the gall to "Implemented a COVID-19 surcharge" 😕
I won't shop there. #Surreybc https://t.co/I03vHKDvXY
And some people have pointed out that a COVID-19 fee could serve as an unwelcome reminder of the pandemic, turning customers off of the business.
light negativity. Just avoid it. There will be backlash. In fact, I wouldn't visit your restaurant. I'd certainly pay more, but I don't need to be reminded about COVID-19 thank you very much. It's on our minds enough as it is.— 🕺 Derek Major 🕺 (@derekmajor) May 22, 2020
Especially since there's no exact timeline for how long the temporary fee could be in place.
i don’t mind paying a local business service a small COVID tax. But how long would it be ok to charge it???— Victoria, what day is it? 🇨🇦 (@fortyMomma) May 25, 2020
But many Canadians are arguing that a COVID fee is essential for businesses to survive the pandemic, especially with fewer customers allowed through their doors.
Restaurants in Alberta, for example, will only be able to operate at 50 per cent capacity, which will drastically reduce the amount of revenue flowing into the business.
Omg it's 2 bucks and temporary! I'm a hairdresser, our covid fee is more than 2.19! Don't like it? Find another place that doesn't need to recoup the costs of PPE, being closed for 2.5 mos still paying rent/bills with zero income. As well as the shop now making half the income. https://t.co/SjcDXLtOPb— Shirley (@sharingneedles) May 20, 2020
Salons and restaurants will also have to deal with high demand and price gouging as they reopen.
Some business owners are reporting that a box of gloves that previously cost $8.95 plus tax may now be $20.00 to purchase — more than double what it originally cost.
Are you really going to be upset if a hair salon charges you a few bucks more? Or your nail tech?— Harmonica Lewinskyღ (@_harmonyxo) May 21, 2020
Adding a covid fee means they keep their prices the same, eventually they’ll remove the fee and you can go back to what you used to pay. Doesn’t that make sense?
Some Canadians have pointed out that a COVID fee will allow businesses to purchase masks, plexiglass shields, cleaning supplies and more, leading to a safer environment for the customer.
Would I pay a small CoVid Fee for my local hair salons and other services to open and offer customers service in safety? Yes. 5 dollars extra to have measures taken for sterile equipment, extra cleaning, plastic sheilds - sounds good to me.— James Gill (@jagill) May 20, 2020
While others say that they're willing to pay the COVID fee, but only if it contributes solely to a business's new operating expenses — and it doesn't profit the business.
I dont mind the COVID fee if it's for PPE and extra sanitization measures. What will be very upsetting is if we find out that the business is putting the fee in to their own pockets.— Christina Da Silva (@caralindaCDS) May 25, 2020
Dan Kelly, the executive director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says that he thinks the COVID fees will be "very rare" — but some customers will be willing to pay them.
"I think that there are many Canadians that understand that small businesses are struggling just like they are," he told Global News. "It may be viewed as a reasonable trade-off."
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