The cost of food and drinks on holiday could rise due to ‘coronavirus surcharges’

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 10:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 10:58 am
A meal or drinks out on holiday abroad could now be more expensive than usual, as the hospitality industry slowly gets back on its feet across the globe (Photo: Shutterstock)

A meal or drinks out on holiday abroad could now be more expensive than usual, as the hospitality industry slowly gets back on its feet across the globe.

Restaurants and bars have been forced to close for numerous months due to government restrictions in multiple countries. Some have had to reduce their customer capacity, now they are back open, due to social distancing measures.

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‘Covid service charge’

One bar in the Canary Islands has added a ‘Covid service charge’ to each purchase, with some suggestions that this covers the cost of additional hygiene measures put in place, reports the Mirror.

However, FACUA, a Spanish consumer rights group, said, “An increasing number of establishments in different sectors of activity are applying what they call the Covid surcharge, rate or supplement to users with the excuse that they have an increase in their expenses as a consequence of adopting the measures dictated by the Government.

“Thus, charging a surcharge in a bar for the measures they have to carry out to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as workers wearing masks, is as illegal as if, before the pandemic they charged extra for cleaning the table or the fact that the waiters wear a uniform.”

Prices could rise in the UK

UK hospitality chiefs have reportedly warned that residents should expect prices to rise when bars and restaurants reopen, as they will need to cover lost income from social distancing measures.

Founder of the Pig Hotels group, Robin Hutson, told the Telegraph, “It really all depends quite a lot on whether social distancing is relaxed or not. If we’re having to run our restaurants with less than half the tables, we would be running at a loss.

“We don’t want to just increase prices, which looks more permanent and clouds our general pricing strategy somewhat.

"For me, to have a surcharge that ultimately can be removed as soon as conditions are better is more transparent and more easily understandable for our guests.”

‘Helpy Hour’

In Belgium, Happy Hour has turned to Helpy Hour, when customers are asked to pay double for their drinks.

However, the Federation for Cafes in Belgium has said that this measure is only temporary. It hopes to help cafes out and avoid bankruptcies, before then returning to Happy Hour at a later date.