WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Florida has reopened many services like dentist offices and beauty salons this month after closures for weeks because of the coronavirus.
But many customers have noticed added costs to their bill as businesses pass on what they are calling a sanitation fee or personal protective equipment fee.
Establishments say it is to balance out unexpected costs in order to keep customers safe.
If you have an appointment at Atlantis Dental Care, you’ll notice every dentist and hygienist is now wearing PPE. Also, there are air filtration systems in every exam room.
“We’ve had to purchase extra evacuation systems, air filtration systems, to make everybody safe and healthy,” said Dr. Yagi Patel of Atlantis Dental Care.
Patel purchased extra equipment to increase the amount of suction during procedures and decrease the amount of spray or coughing that can go into the air.
This is all one-time-use equipment that makes dental work cleaner and safer.
“We’ve added $10 or $15, depending on what we’re doing. If we are doing a lot of drilling or hygiene procedures, then we’re doing $15 per visit,” said Patel.
The high demand for PPE is causing those prices to increase, forcing businesses to pass on those costs to the client.
Dr. Colleen Lam runs her own dental practice in Lake Worth. She hasn’t added any extra fees, but said it is difficult to catch up with the added costs after just reopening.
“[It has been] a long period of time to be shut down with no income coming in, and we still had to spend money to make sure we had the proper PPE for when we did reopen,” said Lam.
Patel said the fees aren’t permanent, but for now she is doing what she can to operate safely.
“I would say in time the cost will go down. I feel certain about that. Right now, the costs are so high because the vendors are charging us so much,” said Patel.