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LA County Considering Allowing Restaurants to Implement COVID-19 Surcharge

Plan would allow restaurants, breweries and wineries to add COVID-19 surcharge

By Kerry Slater

Los Angeles County is considering allowing restaurants, breweries and wineries to add a COVID-19 surcharge to diners’ bills.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently approved a motion directing the County’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to draft ordinance language to allow food establishments, breweries, and wineries to temporarily charge a “COVID-19 Recovery Charge” within the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

“The independent hospitality industry such as restaurants, breweries, and wineries has dealt with profound uncertainty throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, the motion’s author. “Furthermore, this industry employs a labor workforce that is dependent on jobs with low barriers to entry for their livelihood – with many from communities of color. Until full indoor dining is once again permitted, the independent hospitality industry is unlikely to generate the revenue they produced before COVID-19. It is critical that we continue to support this sector by temporarily allowing them to add a “COVID-19 Recovery Charge” to a customer’s total bill.”

According to Solis, this optional fee gives small restaurant, brewery, and winery owners the chance to recover expenditures related to PPE, workforce wellbeing initiatives and construction costs for outdoor dining.

The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs will work in consultation and collaboration with the County Counsel, and other relevant County Departments, and after considering feedback from labor and business representatives and report back prior to the November 24th Board of Supervisors meeting.

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