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As B.C. businesses reopen, some charge COVID-19 fees to cover costs

Many businesses charging COVID-19 fees to cover reopening costs
Many B.C. shops and restaurants are reopening at a reduced capacity under the new rules and to make up for the higher costs, customers could be paying more for fewer services.

North Vancouver’s Zazou Salon is set to reopen Wednesday with new safety measures in place.

Chairs will be two metres apart, Plexiglas barriers have been installed, and there will be no waiting room.

The changes mean fewer customers and more overhead. That is why the salon is charging clients a coronavirus surcharge of $7.55.

B.C. retailers roll out new normal for shoppers
B.C. retailers roll out new normal for shoppers

Owner Bruce Peters told Global News he doesn’t have many options.

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“I know that some people are going to be annoyed by that,” he said.

Legendary Vancouver barber back in business after COVID-19 closure
Legendary Vancouver barber back in business after COVID-19 closure

“Some clients are not receiving it well. Some clients are going, ‘It doesn’t matter. I totally understand. I thought it was going to be more.'”

Whether it’s in plain sight, like a COVID-19 surcharge, or in prices that inch higher to reflect the new reality, owners are having to find new ways to pay the bills.

READ MORE: B.C. shops reopen as retailers, shoppers adjust to the new normal

“Costs are significant for business at a time where they don’t have a lot of operating cash on hand,” Greater Vancouver Board of Trade CEO Bridgitte Anderson said.

Enhanced COVID-19 enforcement protocols
Enhanced COVID-19 enforcement protocols

“They have been already struggling for weeks now and so it is entirely possible that some of these costs could be passed on to consumers.”

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Small businesses urging consumers to tap with debit during pandemic
Small businesses urging consumers to tap with debit during pandemic

The big unknown is whether the public will be willing to pay more to support local businesses.

At Vancouver’s Joyride Nail Salon, the decision to implement a surcharge was not taken lightly.

“This is what we need to do,” director Zarina Ahamed said. “For a small business like us, we cannot survive if we do not pass some of that fee onto our clients.”

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