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What is a COVID-19 surcharge and how does it work

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Posted at 9:52 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 13:31:13-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — With businesses beginning to reopen and customers starting to spend money out and about again, consumers might notice an additional expanse on their bill: a COVID-19 surcharge.

Kern County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop discussed during Monday's press briefing what the surcharge is and what consumers should expect.

This new surcharge is an extra fee that businesses can add to a bill to help alleviate the financial burden placed upon them during the virus outbreak. It is meant to help offset losses due to businesses having to temporarily close, or help businesses keep up with the new requirements to reopen under health guidelines.

Alsop explained Monday that the surcharge is just another aspect to help businesses recover, but it is up to the business itself to decide to add it or not.

"Businesses would have to make decisions on their own," Alsop said. "Simply having something on the bill at the end of the night that addresses something like a COVID-19 surcharge, possibly in addition to having signage in the restaurant, maybe something on the menu upfront."

Adding a surcharge to the bill isn't the only option to help businesses during this time of reopening. Businesses could choose to raise prices overall. This has already been seen in some restaurants where expenses such as food supplies and third-party delivery fees, like DoorDash and GrubHub, have gone up considerably.

Alsop points out that as a business, communicating with your customers might be the best way to maintain trust and keep your customers coming back during this difficult time.

"If I'm a business owner, customers are my livelihood," he said. "Those I think are points where you can engage your customers and talk to them about your business decisions."