COVID-19 pandemic could mean your cold-hard cash isn't good anymore -- at some stores
MONCTON, N.B. -- There's been mixed opinions on how payments should be made at stores during the COVID-19 pandemic: cash or card?
At the Moncton Hospital, visitor parking is cash only, which is something of a concern to many, like Moncton resident Misty Milburn.
"I think right now, it should be Interac," Milburn said. "You're handling whatever everybody else just had in their hands. You don't know what's on there."
A spokesman for Horizon Health says the Moncton Hospital has always operated on a cash-only basis and that attendants are equipped with hand sanitizer and clean their hands between every transaction.
They also say this process was implemented on advice from their infection prevention and control experts.
But there are still many businesses who are leaving both options available, such as a Co-Op country store in Moncton, which has shut down its main store, but is handling transactions through a window while wearing gloves on their hands while serving customers.
"All our sales coming through our drive-thru service, and anything that's needed in the store, we are picking the orders for our customers and they can pay right at the window," says Kevin Chase, the Co-Op's warehouse supervisor.
Employees say it's important to have both cash and card options available.
"Some of our members and customers are seniors, so the only form of payment they have is cash," Chase said. "There are still some out there that don't have any type of debit card or credit card to use."
It's a similar scenario at a nearby convenience store and gas station, which accepts all forms of payment, says owner Mike Wilson.
"Cash should be as good as a debit or credit card," Wilson said. "Money's always dirty; it's always been dirty."
But there have been measures taken at other gas stations to limit the hand-to-hand contact.
"Some locations, stopped selling lottery scratch (tickets)," Wilson said.
Each business is trying to stay afloat while managing how they want to handle their money as safely as possible.
As the COVID-19 crisis widens, other stores and businesses that remain open might follow in NB Liquor's lead and stop taking cash as the provincially-run liquor retailer did on March 18. It now only accepts debit and credit cards.