“Catering and beverage establishments may define, as internal operating rules, the charging of a fee for the use of crockery, ice or other items. However, [...] these internal operating rules must be duly publicised, as well as posted in a prominent place, next to the entrance of the establishments, in order to conveniently inform customers", according to the secretary general of the Hotel Association, restoration and similar services in Portugal (AHRESP), Ana Jacinto, in a written response to Lusa.

According to Lusa, there have been numerous reports of restaurants that are charging for the use of tableware when, for example, at a birthday dinner, customers take the cake and use dishes from the establishment, as well as ice or glasses of water.

"It is permitted to charge a fee for the provision of ice or glasses of water, as long as this information is duly identified and defined in the establishment's price list, and this must be made available near the entrance and inside the establishments", according to AHRESP.

The association also recalled that, since July 2021, hotel, restaurant, cafeteria and catering establishments are obliged to keep a container with tap water and sanitised glasses available to customers for consumption on-site, free of charge or at a lower cost than the packaged water made available by establishments.

"If the establishment wishes to charge for glasses of water, it must do so at a lower cost than that charged for packaged water that is also available for consumption in the establishment", said Ana Jacinto, adding that these values must be duly identified on the invoice, in the terms of the VAT Code.