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At the restaurant The New Wave Billiards just off of Florida International University’s campus, health and safety upgrades have been expensive to implement since the coronavirus pandemic brought about a new way of life.
Now, as a result, a 3% ‘COVID-19 fee’ is being added to each customer’s bill.
“If we don’t charge a little bit at a time, here and there, we would have to close,” said the restaurant’s owner, Alfredo Pineres.
Signs inside the restaurant inform customers of the added tax when they walk in.
The hospitality industry has taken a hit due to the shutdowns; reopening can be expensive, partitions need to be installed, new signage must be ordered and increased costs for cleaning supplies.
“The sanitizers have gone from $15 to $60, $70 a gallon. It’s a burden,” said Pineres.
Not all merchants think the added fee is fair. “We’re headed to a recession and businesses want to add taxes!” one user commented on New Wave Billard’s Instagram page.
“Stop complaining cheapskate,” another user wrote.
Meanwhile in Doral, another restaurant, SuViche, is taking a different approach and putting their sushi on sale.
“There are still a lot of people out of work, still a lot of people who don’t have money,” said manager Luis Garcia. “We’re just making it as easy as possible for them to still go out and eat, and hopefully that’s with us.”