The next time you get a bill - whether it’s from a restaurant, or your dentist’s office - don’t be surprised if you see a separate COVID surcharge. Meaning, an extra fee to cover added expenses linked to the coronavirus pandemic. That’s according to Ted Rossman, an analyst for the financial website CreditCards.com.

For example, a restaurant might charge $5-dollars extra for disposable menus, personal protective equipment for the staff, and the increased cost of food. And hair salons and dentist’s offices might charge $15-dollars for extra cleaning and disinfecting between customers.

So, why are businesses putting COVID surcharges as a separate line item, instead of just raising prices across the board?

Financial analyst Rossman says it’s partly because management is trying to provide transparency - and they worry raising their prices across the board might mean lost business. They also want to keep the surcharges separate so customers know the extra cost is only meant to be temporary.