With South Africa on level one lockdown, shopping is in full swing again with open retailers and shopping traffic starting to increase in anticipation of the Festive Season. And an increase in shopping means an increase in cash handling, by both shoppers and shop owners. But is handling cash safe?
Most retailers have adopted sound hygiene practices such as regular cleaning, sanitising all visitors’ hands and ensuring customers can only enter the store if they have their masks on. This is all great and will go a long way in keeping people safe, however with more trading occurring there’s an increase in monetary exchanges which may pose a cross contamination risk. In this blog we will give you quick tips on how you can handle money while staying hygienic and safe.
In one of our older blogs “What does the Coronavirus outbreak mean for you?” we discussed how COVID-19 is spread from person to person through droplets produced when a person coughs or sneezes. If these droplets land on surfaces, the virus can stay active on that surface for an extended period of time - money is no exception to this. Therefore, you do risk cross-contamination if you touch contaminated money and then your face - if you don’t wash or sanitise your hands after handling banknotes or coins.
A study conducted in March found the virus can live on cardboard and paper for up to 24 hours, however there isn't conclusive evidence that stipulates how long it can last on money.
How should I handle money during the Coronavirus pandemic?
My best advice during this pandemic is to keep safe by creating healthy and safe habits. In the book “Psycho Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life” Dr Maxwell Maltz states that it takes about 21 days to develop a simple healthy habit. Through this learning, I found that applying that to hygiene practices allows you to stay protected even when you’re out in public areas.
I found that at first - even with the knowledge I have about hand hygiene - there were moments when I would forget. I have found that habitually sanitising my hands before and after touching money and my wallet helps ensure that I have gradually trained my brain to automatically be mindful - which makes it easier to handle things such as money and other objects in a public space.
You may also want to consider looking out for contactless payment opportunities. I've found that more and more stores have acquired this facility for contactless payment. You can also take it one step further by sanitising your card, although I advise you not to sanitise the magnetic strip, otherwise your card may well not work.
Remember that while it’s unclear how long the Coronavirus can survive on different surfaces, it's better to remain safe and to sanitise and wash and dry your hands regularly while going about your daily life. For more hygiene insights sent straight to your inbox every month, subscribe to our blog. You can find out about our Coronavirus service offerings here.