Coronavirus: Is it legal for businesses to refuse cash as a result of COVID-19?

Global News

Date of Publication: April 29, 2020

Source: Global News

In an effort to reduce COVID-19 transmission, many stores in Canada have chosen not to accept cash, instead only allowing transactions through debit or credit. According to a spokesperson for the Bank of Canada, Josainne Menard, this temporary practice is legal and at the discretion of the seller. However, they have issued a statement to reassure the public that “the risks posed from handling bank notes are no greater than those posed by touching other common surfaces” and to ask businesses to continue accepting cash as some individuals are limited in terms of payment options. Margaret Harris, a spokeswoman for the COVID-19 team at WHO has also reaffirmed that there is no evidence that cash is a significant route of transmission. However, Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician and scientist with the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute states that research indicates that COVID-19 can remain on the surfaces for a few hours to a few days, which includes hard currency.

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Summary by: Sophia Duong