Italy's prices go up as shops add covid tax to bill

Reports of price hikes at bars, restaurants and hairdressers in Italy.

Italy's consumers are being charged €2 to €4 more than before the coronavirus emergency as bars, restaurants and hairdressers add a 'covid tax' to the bill, according to consumer watchdog Codacons.

"We are receiving dozens of reports on the increases in the price lists of hairdressers" said Codacons which - based on average costs in large cities - has calculated how the price of a cut has gone from an average of €20 to €25, an increase of 25 per cent, reports Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

Codacons also reports increases in the price of coffee at the bar, with cases of an espresso in Rome now costing €1.50 (instead of the usual €1 or €1.10), in Milan €2 (up from €1.30) and Florence €1.70 (up from the usual average of €1.40).

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The so-called covid tax has also been slammed by the National Consumer Union whose president Massimiliano Dona describes it as an "incorrect practice."

The hike in prices comes as many businesses struggle to get back to work after being closed for more than two months during the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Businesses are operating amid reduced capacity due to social distancing as well as dealing with extra costs relating to sanification and protective equipment required under Italy's Phase Two in the covid-19 emergency.