This Brussel’s restaurant has been slammed for charging a 5-EUR supplement for every customer as a “COVID-tax” since reopening.
The Viva M’Boma restaurant received the criticism after a bill showing customers were being charged 5 EUR (4.68 GBP) each was posted online.
Many netizens were quick to label the supplement “pure theft” whilst others said a small supplement was fine, but 5 EUR was too much.
Horeca Brussel, of the federation of the hospitality sector in Brussels, expressed their surprise at the charge, explaining that the country’s government had given the industry a VAT reduction in the wake of the pandemic.
Viva M’Boma have defended their decision in a social media statement, saying that they had informed each table about the surcharge in advance.
They added a reminder that the restaurant had been forced to remain closed for three months during Belgium’s coronavirus lockdown and afterwards had their capacity reduced by 50 percent, with a drop in turnover of two-thirds.
They said that despite that, they had not fired any staff, and added that the VAT reduction was not enough for the loss in revenue they had seen.
Consumer organisation Test-Achats said the supplement was legal as long as customers were warned before paying it.