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Angry customers oppose restaurant’s COVID-19 surcharge

MONTREAL (CITYNEWS) – Quebec has officially reopened businesses like restaurants and bars, and some consumers have been surprised to see a new COVID-19 surcharge on their bill.

Pizzeria Napoletana in Montreal’s Little Italy added a $4 fee per person in order to offset the cost of new COVID-19 sanitary measures and avoid food cross contamination.

“You would get the water, you get the bread and butter in a bag, the parmigiano, the spicy oil, the chili pepper – everything individually,” said Napoletana’s owner Linda Girolamo.

The added fee was mentioned on the menu and Girolamo says customers were informed upon arrival when they entered the dining room area.

But one customer recently shared their receipt on social media and outrage ensued, forcing the pizzeria to remove the fee altogether.

“It was a temporary charge,” said Girolamo. “So we put it there while we were giving you this kit. We were just being honest, that’s all. Transparent. We didn’t want to abuse anybody.

“Shame on me for being honest and transparent, that’s what I feel.”

The pizzeria isn’t the only one imposing an additional surcharge. Some hair salons and dentists have decided to increase their prices.

Other businesses have chosen not to increase prices, choosing to focus on maintaining their clientele instead.

“That little extra charge that they’re charging, two or three dollars, I don’t know really if it’s going to make a difference,” said Nick Piazza, owner of Piazza Salumi Fumagalli. “What’s important is to get them back, get them out going to restaurants, shopping.”

Added Danny Jobin, owner of District Video Lounge: “I would like to (add a surcharge), but I won’t do it just to respect my clientele. And I still hope that the government will help restaurant and bar businesses because we’re good for tourism and for the economy.”