FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Consumers could soon start seeing a new surcharge on their receipts.
Reeling from the financial losses of the pandemic, some restaurants, salons and dental offices have started including a COVID-19 surcharge.
Establishments from Missouri to Michigan have made national headlines after tacking on COVID-19 fees to customers’ bills.
Here in North Texas, Nails and Beyond Hulen announced on its Facebook page that it is raising prices.
“A price increase ($3 to $5) will be applied to your services towards our sanitation effort and supply increase,” the post read.
Various dental offices in the Metroplex are also adding fees between $10 and $15.
“To ensure the safety of our staff and our patients, we will be using extra personal protection equipment and there will be a $15 charge per appointment at this time,” read an email received by patients of the North Dallas Dental Group.
Michael Carroll, the director of the Economics Research Group at the University of North Texas, said these fees just might represent the new cost of doing business.
Carroll said businesses need to recover from their financial losses. But how they disclose that price hike will differ.
“They have to increase their prices somehow, whether it’s a line item or a surcharge or whether they do it by increasing prices,” Carroll said. “I would probably disclose it because I think the businesses want to maintain their relationship with their clientele and base.”
A spokeswoman for the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association said she has not yet heard of any local establishments adding COVID-19 surcharges.
Some customers said they understand why businesses would need to charge extra during this time.
“I’d hope they’d try to explain it to me beforehand,” said Kacie Mills, a student at Southern Methodist University.” But no, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.”
“You’re doing extra sanitation, extra hiring, hiring help to do the sanitation,” said Ben Reed. “So I can see the need for the price to go up.”
But others said establishments should look for help from the government instead of customers.
“We shouldn’t have to pay for what’s going on in America,” said Quinton Young. “I feel like I’m already paying taxes, so I feel like it shouldn’t be done.”
Ryan White owns a barbershop in Lower Greenville.
He said while he sees the benefit of extra fees, it’s not something he plans on charging.
“I think it’s best to support people and come together and not try to tax people who don’t have that money right now,” White said.
Under Gov. Abbott’s executive order, Texas bars and salons can currently operate at 25% capacity.
Meanwhile, restaurants can reopen at 50% occupancy.