Prominent comedian says Covid fees and credit card surcharges are no joke


Sebastian Maniscalco slammed two fees he encountered while eating at a restaurant last week.

The stand-up comedian took to social media saying a restaurant he dined at should get rid of the “Covid fee” he said it charged him. The fee was $3, according to Maniscalco. 

“I went to a restaurant last night, and I got the bill and they charged me a covid fee,” he said. “I asked the guy. I go, ‘What’s the covid fee?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, well, we gotta wipe down the menus.’ Wipe down the menus? You’re charging $3 to wipe down your own menus? Before Covid, what, you just brought out the menu with spaghetti sauce on it?”

Maniscalco did not identify the restaurant by name or say where it was located.

Some dining establishments around the country started implementing dedicated Covid-related fees during the pandemic to help recoup additional expenses they incurred because of the virus. Some examples of things that restaurants used to Covid surcharges for included personal protective equipment and social distancing measures on top of sanitization, per the Washington Post.

empty restaurant

But as the pandemic has wound down, some restaurants have kept Covid-related fees in place. Inflation and other things have factored into some doing so, according to reports.

The comedian also said in the video that he incurred a credit card surcharge to the tune of 3.5% during the same meal.


Restaurants and other businesses may subject customers to a small surcharge for swiping their credit card to foot the “processing” cost associated with that electronic payment method. They often fall in the 1-3% range.

Multiple credit cards lying on table

“It’s a real bad look as a business. Absorb the fee. It’s called the cost of doing business,” Maniscalco continued, adding that it “ain’t right” in a seeming reference to the name of his upcoming stand-up tour.

The comedian posted the video of him criticizing the two fees on several social media platforms. On Facebook, over 16,000 people reacted to it, while the clip wracked up over 50,000 views on X.

Maniscalco will start his “It Ain’t Right” comedy tour in July with a show in Norfolk, Virginia. He has had multiple comedy specials in the past, including two on Netflix.

He also holds the leading role in the Max series “Bookie.” 

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