After several weeks of forced closure, restaurants were able to resume their activities on June 8. But with strict sanitary conditions to fight the Covid-19 epidemic: distance of 1.50m between tables, limited number of guests, wearing of masks for staff, etc.
For Horeca establishments these measures (gathered in an official document can be read by clicking here) add to a situation made complicated by confinement. As a result, some have decided to charge a “covid supplement”. This was for example the case at VIVA M’boma, in Brussels. A photo taken in this restaurant has toured social networks. We see a receipt dated June 10, 2020 with a line highlighted in orange: “2 Anti-Covid measures19, 5 euros“. Or 10 euros in total for two covers.
Nothing illegal in there, as Test-Achats writes on its website : “A merchant or service provider […] is free to set its prices. He can therefore increase them whenever he wishes. But the consumer must be warned before making his purchase.“
“The merchant or service provider must imperatively inform you in advance of their decision to charge you a supplement due to the coronavirus crisis. […] And these prices and tariffs are furthermore assumed to be ‘all inclusive’. Therefore, include VAT, as well as any services billed to consumers (the ‘corona’ measures in the store can be assimilated to a ‘service’) and various taxes“, continues Test-Achats.
Customers were informed of the additional cost
On his Facebook page, the management of the restaurant concerned provides these details: “Not knowing what to represent in terms of additional costs the anti-Covid measures that the government imposed on us, we decided to apply an additional 5 euros per cutlery by informing each table. It lasted 10 days and the clients understood our position.“
As for the restaurant, we stress that it was necessary to compose, after three months without activity, with a capacity reduced by half and a turnover at half mast. In addition, VIVA M’boma states that it has not made any redundancies, despite the crisis, “because we are a team in the worst as in the best“.
And to conclude: “Balance is already, in normal times, difficult to find when we respect the rules (100% declared) … We did not want to shock, just pass on costs that were not expected in our margin.“