coronavirus cash

Bank of Canada encourages businesses to keep taking cash amid coronavirus pandemic

The businesses that remain open during the current coronavirus pandemic have had to drastically step up measures to protect both employees and customers.

Many retailers who are still operating — doing so under states of emergency if located in Ontario, AlbertaB.C., Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and P.E.I. — have made changes like increasing cleaning and sanitization, moving to takeout only and limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time.

Another popular precaution is accepting card payments only, as many feel that inherently germy cash may harbour the virus that causes COVID-19, which can survive on surfaces for days.

But the Bank of Canada is asking stores to continue accepting bills and coins for the sake of those Canadians who may not have any other method of payment.

Seniors, low-income residents and those experiencing homelessness are among the vulnerable groups who often rely on cash. Many residents may not currently have access to credit or debit cards, or have the ability to use them currently for various reasons.

"The risks posed from handling Canadian bank notes are no greater than those posed by touching other common surfaces such as doorknobs, kitchen counters and handrails," the bank said in a statement.

"Some consumers and businesses are choosing not to use cash to limit potential exposure [but] refusing cash could put an undue burden on people who depend on cash as a means of payment."

The nation's central bank goes on to remind anyone handling cash to wash their hands frequently and properly, as has been the standard advice for everyone everywhere over the past few weeks.

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