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Ask 2: Are businesses legally allowed to charge a ‘COVID’ fee?

FILE. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)
FILE. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

HOUSTONAt KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.

Question: We went to a restaurant in the Woodlands and saw a COVID fee of 5% on our bill. Is this legal?

Answer: Yes.

According to CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com analyst Ted Rossman, coronavirus surcharges are technically legal as long as they’re disclosed.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the cost of doing business has gone up.

Whether it’s to cover the cost of plexiglass and other COVID-19 safety installations or to make up for lost revenue due to capacity limits, some businesses are footing the bill to its customers.

Some of the most common industries charging extra include nail and hair salons and restaurants.

[RELATED: What you need to know about new COVID-19 surcharges]

KPRC 2 Consumer Expert Amy Davis recommends asking businesses you plan to visit if there are any new fees before booking a service or appointment.

Do you have a burning H-Town-related question? Send it our way, and we will try to hunt down an answer.

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