Los Angeles Weighs Allowing Vendors To Charge A ‘COVID Recovery Fee’ For Dining On Premises

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Heather Edwards Contributor
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Amid a new spike of coronavirus cases in recent days, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis is floating the idea of allowing food and drink establishments in unincorporated areas of LA County to add a “COVID-19 recovery fee” to customers bills.

The proposed fees would serve to help restaurants cover rising labor and compliance costs, according to local outlet Fox 11. The fee would be applied to dine-in customers only.

Unincorporated parts of LA include more than 65% of the county, according to Los Angeles County’s website. These include communities such as Marina del Rey, parts of Pasadena, Universal City, and Catalina Island. According to health officials, 10-15% of new coronavirus cases are being traced back to restaurants and bars, per Fox 11.

People enjoy outdoor drinks and dining temporarily set up in the street, July 16, 2020 on Main Street in Huntington Beach, California, amid the coronavirus pandemic. – This week California drastically rolled back its reopening plans and ordered all indoor restaurants, bars and cinemas to close again at the COVID-19 infection rate continues to spike. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

The Department of Business and Consumer Affairs will reportedly discuss this idea with the county’s labor and business counsel representatives and revisit the issue with the board on Nov. 24, Fox 11 reported. (RELATED: Governor Of Pennsylvania Says No To Reopening Restaurants At Full Capacity)

There has been a slight increase in positive tests recorded, with 1,351 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours, according to a county report.

The largest number of positive cases are currently in the 30-49 year-old age group, per the county’s website. Overall, hospitalization rates remain steady and death rates continue to decrease.

In September, the New York City council approved a bill allowing restaurants added a similar, “COVID-19 recovery charge” to customers, as long as it is fully disclosed on both the menu and the bill, according to Fox Business. The charge can be as much as 10% of the total bill, and applies to diners seated outside as well as inside.