COVID-19 surcharges unpopular, but companies warn of further price hikes

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MONTREAL –
Customer complaints cause some Montreal businesses to get rid of a COVID-19 supplement, but business owners warn that prices will not necessarily drop. Linda Girolamo, owner of Napoletana Pizzeria in Little Italy, said her restaurant introduced a $ 4 per person fee to cover the new sanitary measures when it reopened. Among these measures were bottled water, individually wrapped bread, butter and salt.

“We no longer serve jugs of water, just to avoid cross-contamination. We no longer serve bread in a basket, it comes in a bag and we encourage people, for those $ 4, you will get your kit, ”she said. “You want to drink water, take the bottle home. ”

Girolamo said customers have rejected the surcharge. But other companies have also raised their prices. At NDG barbershop Damps, haircuts have increased by $ 10.

“Before, we were 30-minute meetings and now we are 60-minute meetings,” said Sage Holder. “We also need to provide them with masks, gloves if they need it, hand sanitizer and all of our equipment has also increased.”

Charles Tanguay of the Quebec Office of Consumer Protection warned that certain supplements are illegal. While companies can raise prices, customers should be notified when they first sit down or they can dispute the charges.

“This cannot be a surprise to the client. He can’t come with the bill at the very end of the meal, ”said Tanguay.

Girolamo said that even if customers were warned, it would still get rid of the charges due to the influx of complaints, but a more general increase in prices could still be an option.

“I guess in Quebec we are a society that likes hidden costs like alcohol, cigarettes and gas,” she said.

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