New poll shows BC residents don't want COVID-19 surcharges

No COVID surcharge, thanks

A new poll from Insights West shows British Columbians are opposed to COVID-19 surcharges, but in general do expect higher prices as the economy opens up and businesses reopen doors.

While the majority of residents (62 per cent) don't agree with special pandemic surcharges, 75 per cent think items and services will cost more overall in the near future.

More than half of the 62 per cent of residents who dislike the concept of COVID-19 surcharges consider themselves "strongly opposed," with a smaller number feeling "somewhat opposed." 

Younger residents aged 18 to 34 years old are less opposed (52 per cent) to COVID-19 surcharges to help businesses recover from increased operating costs and fewer customer numbers than older residents. 

Some industries, however, are perceived by customers as more justified putting these surcharges in place, including hair salons (51 per cent), restaurants (47 per cent) and other small businesses (46 per cent). 

On the other hand, there is very little support (20 per cent) and significant opposition (75 per cent) for large chain retailers also implementing a COVID-19 surcharge.

But overall, B.C. residents expect the pandemic will result in higher inflation and higher prices across the board, with 75 per cent of survey respondents believing it will. 

The majority of B.C. residents (64 per cent) also agree we will likely have to pay more in the future for products and services, supported across all age, gender and regional segments. 

Insights West president Steve Mossop says the strong desire of many residents to buy from businesses that form part of the local neighbourhood (79 per cent), BC businesses (81 per cent) and Canadian businesses (82 per cent). 

“Consumer sentiment in this province has shifted to hyper-localization and support of businesses that are part of our local economy. Small and medium-sized businesses have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, putting them front and centre in the media spotlight. And while consumers are not willing to pay for COVID-19 specific surcharges, there is an overall expectation that things will cost more, and there seems to be a willingness to accept this.”

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