When customers step in for a cup of coffee at Ritual Coffee Roasters on Valencia Street, a sign informs them that cash is no longer welcome. The coffee shop wants customers to use contactless forms of payments to pick up their cups of joe, in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. More and more businesses are turning away from cash, fearing that the virus could be sitting on banknotes and coins, as it exchanges hands from person to person in everyday transactions. From a report: “Looking at the situation with COVID-19 getting worse, we decided to switch,” said Eileen Rinaldo, owner of Ritual Coffee. “Cash is notoriously covered with germs and it’s a matter of eliminating that point of contact.” The reluctance to take cash is emerging even though San Francisco ordered most businesses to accept cash last year, out of a concern that the trend to cashless payments was shutting out those without access to smartphones and credit cards. The city said it’s still enforcing the rule and does not plan to lift it temporarily. “We’re not currently engaged in any discussions about a freeze on this important equity policy,” said Gloria Chan, spokeswoman for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “As a city, we still need to ensure everyone can purchase goods, whether or not they have access to credit or noncash forms of payment.” Still, fears of cash abound. Other companies, like food delivery service DoorDash, are providing cashless options for payments. And on Saturday, cash toll collection on all seven Bay Area bridges was temporarily suspended under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s orders, to curb the spread of the virus.
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