Lowers Risk Group Cash Handling Advisory
Recent guidance from the WHO erroneously advised against the handling of cash due to the potential to transmit COVID-19. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread by cash handling. The risk of being contaminated from the handling of cash is like that of touching a public door or handrail.
COVID-19 must pass the respiratory system for contamination to occur, thus the handling of banknotes and coin is not a likely part of the risk equation. The WHO has retracted its original statement saying that currency has a possibility of being a concentrated contaminate. Any surface is an opportunity to contract or spread the virus; however, close interactions with others that are coughing, or sneezing has the highest likelihood of transmitting the virus.
Understanding that the cash lifecycle is essential for commerce, the Federal Reserve Cash Product Office has issued bearer letters for CIT employees engaged delivering essential currency. The letter specifically requests in part that “all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and emergency management agencies permit the bearer to enter areas affected in order to carry out these tasks.
You may not exhibit symptoms until days after you are exposed so it is important to follow preventative measures. The best prevention is to practice good hygiene by washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, try not to touch your face, mouth, or eyes with unclean or wet hands, cough into your arm or tissue, proactive social distancing by trying to limit exposure to gatherings of over ten people, and if you don’t feel well, stay home. If there is someone at home that is sick, attempt to have them stay in a room. If you have symptoms, notify your employer by phone or email. It is best practice to wear a mask if you are exhibiting symptoms to prevent the spread from coughing and sneezing.
Gloves offer a barrier; however, the touching of your face, eyes, and nose is an easy way to transmit the virus, even if you are wearing gloves. If you must go out, wipe down surfaces such as countertops and handles with sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol or a detergent that is on the approved product list (Coronavirus Fighting Products List), and try to keep a distance of at least six feet from people.