A man demonstrates how to put on a surgical gloves and other protective clothing during a tour of a COVID-19 evaluation clinic in Montreal, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Dirty money has taken on a new meaning as the war on the novel coronavirus ramps up. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Retailers careful handling cash while WHO says currency doesn’t transmit COVID

The Bank of Canada ‘strongly’ urged retailers to continue accepting cash

Dirty money has taken on a new meaning as the war on the novel coronavirus ramps up.

Some retailers are taking more precautions when accepting cash during the pandemic, says Karl Littler, a spokesman for the Retail Council of Canada, which represents more than 45,000 businesses.

“The approach has been to issue disposable gloves to tellers who’ve been handling cash,” he said in an interview.

“There are some merchants who are saying we will accept cash but only in one or two lanes and those lanes will have particularly deep attention to sanitization.”

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario said in a news release this week that in addition to increased sanitization, stores would limit the handling of money and ask customers to pay with credit or debit cards when possible.

The Bank of Canada, meanwhile, ”strongly” urged retailers on Wednesday to continue accepting cash to ensure people have access to the goods and services they need.

The risks posed from handling bank notes are no greater than those posed by touching other common surfaces, such as doorknobs, kitchen counters and handrails, it said.

“Refusing cash could put an undue burden on people who depend on cash as a means of payment,” it said.

The Canadian Bankers Association says on its website that while consumers are increasingly turning to digital channels and electronic payment methods, the use of cash is still prevalent.

The People’s Bank of China said in February that at the height of the epidemic in that country, cash was being disinfected and stored for more than 14 days before being put back into circulation.

In South Korea, the central bank took all bank notes out of circulation for two weeks or, in some cases, burned paper money.

Margaret Harris, a spokeswoman for the COVID-19 team at the World Health Organization, said there is no evidence that cash is transmitting the novel coronavirus.

But people should “always” wash their hands after using cash, she said in an interview.

“Cash is known to carry a lot of bacteria and viruses. … You should always wash your hands after handling cash and before eating or touching your mouth, nose and eyes.”

READ MORE: 3-in-10 Canadians admit they aren’t practicing social distancing amid COVID-19, says poll

— With files from the Associated Press.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Sunflower Highway, art initiative to connect Fraser Valley, Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan

Sunflowers made out of reclaimed materials will be installed on public art trails

Residents warned to stay away from flooded Cache Creek park

Water might look shallow, but is several feet deep in places

Ashcroft receives grants to get new hot tub and lift station

‘The hot tub is a major benefit for many residents’

Cache Creek gets funding for improvements on Old Cariboo Road

Work will help to mitigate damage from water and debris flows during flooding

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Large rogue floating ‘island’ corralled by Lac la Hache residents

At least 60 feet wide, this large mass of plants is free-floating on the lake

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

Most Read