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Transactions With Stores During Pandemic Often Mean No Cash Allowed

CHICAGO (CBS) — If you’ve walked into a store and they didn’t want your cash, you’re not alone.

As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Tuesday night, we’re slowly getting used to grabbing our face coverings before walking into businesses. And as more people venture out this summer, there are clear signs telling people to mask up.

But it seems cash is something you can start leaving behind now, because fewer stores are accepting the green. Signs are also popping up asking customers not to use cash.

“I was somewhere this morning and I saw a sign in restaurant that said that, but that was the first time I had seen it,” one woman said.

Whether you’re heading to the mall for a new outfit, shopping for groceries, or out for a snack, businesses across Illinois are opting to avoid cash.

“I know cash does carry a lot of germs, so that is a good point. I know I’ve been using my debit much more than cash,” another woman said. “I don’t think it’s that big of deal to touch someone’s cash or card.”

Yet Rob Karr, chief executive officer of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said businesses implemented the move strictly for COVID-19 precautions.

“COVID isn’t being used as an excuse,” he said. “Public health officials have said reduce touch.”

But the reality is that before the pandemic, there was a push to get people to stop using cash, and that was met with opposition in Chicago and other major cities.

“You still have retailers who are risking that touch with the cash, right? But they’re saying if you would, if you can, please you contactless payments, right?” Karr said. “But there’s no mandate to do it.”

So what is the future for this practice?

“I would expect it to become the new norm, and yes, it is legal,” Miller said.

Miller said unless states and cities change the law after the pandemic, this could become a legal measure.

“I really do feel that a lawsuit opposing electronic payments would not be successful,” Miller said.

So what happens if you go into a store and they are not accepting cash? You just have to go elsewhere.

The Retail Merchants Association insists most business are opting for cashless transactions only during the pandemic.


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