The Bank of Canada does not support the request made to Quebec consumers by Prime Minister François Legault, who invites them to renounce paying for goods or services with cash.
During his daily press conference on the COVID-19 crisis, Wednesday, the head of the Quebec government expressed a preference for payment with credit or debit cards to reduce the risk of transmission of new coronavirus.
The Bank of Canada says that refusing to accept cash payments can create undue hardship for people who depend on cash for their purchases. The central bank adds that handling Canadian banknotes poses no greater risk than touching other surfaces such as doorknobs, kitchen counters or stair railings.
She recommends that people handling bank notes follow the measures prescribed by public health authorities against COVID-19 disease and wash their hands as they would have done in other circumstances.
Quebec public health authorities say that in general, coronaviruses can survive for about three hours on inert objects with dry surfaces.
The Bank of Canada recommends that retailers continue to accept cash and ensure that Canadians have access to the goods and services they need.
However, some stores no longer accept cash payments. This is particularly the case for branches of the Société des alcools (SAQ); management explains that as a preventive hygiene measure, customers can no longer pay cash and that only credit and debit cards are accepted and that these must be handled by the customers themselves.