A Covid-19 fee/surcharges coming to a town near you very soon – if not already.
Plain & simple, the cost of doing business has and will continue to go up in the Coronavirus era. Businesses are forced to face new challenges to their profit/loss model of continuing to re-open or remain close. No doubt, some business will not make it. Those that do re-open have some big decisions to make.
- How to recoup the cost of having less than 100% occupancy? Maybe just 50% due to 6 feet social distancing?
- How to pass on the cost of new items like gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, bleach or other disinfectant products?
- How to operate with less staff? What staff and how many to keep?
This real cost will rear it head now as more & more businesses are starting to re-open. Things and places will likely be cleaner and sanitized unlike before. Cleaner is certainly a good thing, but it will come with a cost to all. Businesses will find many ways to try to offset some of their losses of the past 2-3 month; and ways to pass on the cost to help contain the spread of the Coronavirus. Different businesses have different challenges.
You can expect doctors’ and dentists’ offices, massage therapist, physical therapist and other health professionals to buy more gloves, masks, facial shields, gowns, & exam paper table. These products were already used as a cost of doing business. However, because of the Coronavirus pandemic – and how easily it can spread – a lot more of these products are needed. As a result, the patients will bear the lion share of the cost – likely through higher co-pays. Health insurance companies are not going to absorb this cost. We will.
Businesses like barber shops, hair, nails, tattoos salons will be expected to have cleaner and sanitized chairs and stations to help protect themselves and their clients. This means, these establishments will have to buy sanitizing products from disinfectant & bleach to gloves and masks. Therefore, each customer should expect to see a surcharge/fee on their bill.
Restaurants/bars re-opening will have one of the biggest challenges as the goal for profit maximization is a large robust crowd inside while some are willing to wait 30-45 minutes outside for tables. They too must deal with hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, and extra disinfectant products. However, restaurants also have menu issues as many touch and re-touch the same menus. Some have suggested throw away menus but this too has a cost. The establishment must print hundreds if not thousands of menus weekly.
This was on a Sushi restaurant’s Facebook page:
Kiko Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge
“Please read & pay attention to all the signage we posted in front of our restaurant, today we added more signage so you guys can read them & be aware😊☺️. We are not trying to hide this surcharge, we choose this option rather than changing our prices on our menu, this way we can adjust the surcharge weekly. We’ve been putting flyers in front of our restaurant & put the surcharge on your receipt, today we put more signage. Please understand we can’t control the rising cost of meat, seafood, poultry & produce prices. We are at the 2nd bottom of supply chains before you! We only doing this for temporary only, we plan to take this surcharge off once all the prices back to normal.”
- These fees or surcharges are not illegal.
- Expect these surcharges/fees to be inconsistent as there is no set of rules regarding new expenses.
- Expect these fees/surcharges to increase your bills somewhere between 5% – 20%.
Some customers and patients may think this new surcharge/fee is unfair and arbitrary as businesses will not follow a particular formula or standard. Businesses will certainly say – it will be the cost for their businesses to remain open.
- It is only fair for businesses to pass the fees/surcharges to the customers/patients.
- Businesses need to be upfront & honest with their customers about the fee/surcharges. If so, most will appreciate the honesty and understand it.
- Once these fees/surcharges are in place, expect them forever as businesses will use this as a new revenue stream.
- Pay attention to your bills and ask for a reason if you see unexplainable fees/surcharges.
- We are truly in this together as the cost of Covid-19 will affect us all.
- All fees/surcharges aside, we need to always remember those we loss due to Covid-19.