Can Hudson Valley Restaurants Legally Charge a Covid Surcharge?
Should restaurants in the Hudson Valley be allowed to add a Covid-19 surcharge to your bill? Dine-in, carry-out, delivery, an additional surcharge that restaurants would ask you to pay, it would be a percentage or your total because of COVID.
The New York City Council passed a bill in September that allowed New York City restaurants to add what is called a "COVID-19 Recovery Charge" of up to 10% of your total bill. This would not be optional for you to pay, if you order items from places that have added the surcharge, you will have to pay it if you want that item.
What does the money do or help with? The theory behind the surcharge (that the business would be allowed to keep) is to help them offset everything from being closed when they had to be, to helping pay for the additional staff to clean the business, to help offset the costs of having to change how they run their business since the pandemic allowed for restaurants to open. Maybe the business uses that surcharge to help offset the cost of hand sanitizer and face masks. There is not limit to what the restaurant can spend it on.
There is a limit however as to how long the business can charge this surcharge. The limit is 90-days after the end of the COVID restrictions on restaurant capacities. So as long as a restaurant is limited to anything less than 100% of their pre-COVID dining capacity they are able to tack on the additional fee.
Do you think that restaurants here in the Hudson Valley should be allowed to do this? On one hand, this has the potential to help the small restaurant owners in our area. Will this help keep them operating or is it too little to late?