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Full Circle kickstarts cashless local economy to lower spread of virus

Full Circle is based on Norfolk Street. Picture: Keith Heppell
Full Circle is based on Norfolk Street. Picture: Keith Heppell

With viral deposits allegedly lasting up to 17 days on paper cash, Cambridge-based sustainable goods company Full Circle has become the first retailer to exclude cash as a payment method.

The new policy is designed to stop the spread of coronavirus. The organisation said on its online platforms:

“From today we are introducing further measures to keep our customers and our staff as safe as possible from catching and spreading COVID-19.

“1. Everyone working at Full Circle washes their hands A LOT due to working closely with food. This will continue.

“2. We sterilise our dispensers regularly throughout the day. This will also continue.

“3. You will now be required to sanitize or wash your hands upon entering our Norfolk Street shop.

“4. Please ask a member of staff to refill for you if you are still concerned.

“5. We will now not handle any cash. Payments are to be made by CARD ONLY.

“6. Many of you know we’re huggers but all hugs are suspended until further notice. Do feel free to start a hug tab if you wish.”

Public health experts have been advising businesses to stop using cash in an effort to limit cases of coronavirus, as viruses are carried on bank notes. South Korea - whose government has been remarkably successful in preventing the spread of Covid-19 - has even quarantined banknotes.

The Bank of England website says: “Like any other surface that large numbers of people come into contact with, notes can carry bacteria or viruses. However, the risk posed by handling a polymer note is no greater than touching any other common surface, such as handrails, doorknobs or credit cards.” The Bank of England was contacted for confirmation of how long the virus could last on polymer.

Going contactless
Going contactless

Meanwhile - we live in an age of egregious self-doubt - the Word Health Organisation has also been reported as saying that it did not issue any guidelines warning against cash use.

What is certain is that in a cashless society the UK’s unbanked - estimated at 1.5million - would be the first to suffer due to their dependence on physical payment methods. This would include a significant percentage of the elderly.

Dr Aragona Guiseppe, GP and medical advisor at online pharmacy Prescription Doctor, said: “It’s a well-known fact that money holds a whole host of germs and so it’s more important than ever right now to try and curb your habit of using physical money, whether it’s notes or coins.

“Virus particles will be able to sit and attach themselves to paper notes and coins, posing a huge risk to the spread of infection as the money will be transferred over and over again from person to person, increasing the likelihood of a further surge of people infected. The best thing to do is to try and use your card, contactless or Apple pay when you can.

“If you do have to use cash for any reason, ensure that you wash or sanitise your hands thoroughly after every transaction to ensure no germs are being transferred as easily.”

Faced with the uncertainty, Full Circle is taking no chances.

“We want you to be able to enjoy your zero waste experience without excess worry,” the zero-waste retailer concludes.

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