‘We had to do it’; Denver restaurant charges COVID fee

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DENVER (KDVR) — A longtime local restaurant is dealing with the costs of COVID with a new fee for customers.

Bonnie Brae Tavern has been a familiar sight in Denver since 1934 and has build up quite a reputation for comfort classics over the past eight decades.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has put a strain on business with many customers afraid to return back to restaurants. 

“It’s been a struggle our business is down 40 to 60%,” Bonnie Brae Tavern part owner Michael Dire said. 

Customer Dan Hurley is watching costs himself after being forced to retire during the pandemic. He put aside part of his budget to frequent local spots like Bonnie Brae because he knows the struggles they are facing. 

“I went in and saw they were doing the measures for COVID-19 make sure to wear a mask,” he said. 

Hurley decided to contact the Problem Solvers after seeing his bill Friday. 

At first glance, he noticed the cost of his pizza and salad seemed a bit higher than usual.

“So, I started looking through the ticket and I noticed that fee,” Hurley said, adding “I was surprised shocked, I was taken back. I have not seen this on any of the other restaurants doing this.”

There is a sign posted when you walk in the restaurant alerting patrons of a two dollar COVID fee for any purchase over ten dollars.

Dire says they are now printing this warning on disposable menus they must now make daily to keep up with state and city COVID safety mandates.

“It’s a two dollar charge, we didn’t want to be extravagant with it but we hope people understand we had to do it in order to keep the doors open,” Dire said, adding “It was either that or charge percent of each ticket or raise the menu prices.”

Dire says this fee is a way to help stay open while paying for mandated cleaning and spacing requirements.

“The gloves we use doubled in price and we go through three to four cases a week,” Dire said.

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