The Almighty Dollar has lost some of its might in the time of COVID-19. While most struggling businesses will take payment in any form to make ends meet during the economic downtown, a minority reject cash, fearing that it could be a transmission vehicle for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Some experts predict that the pandemic will accelerate a steady flight by American consumers away from dollars and cents.
“This crisis is clearly pushing us even farther away from using cash in our everyday legal transactions,” said Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University economics professor and author of “The Curse of Cash.” “And it’s for obvious reasons. No one wants to touch something you or someone else just touched. That’s not going to change any time soon.”
Dollars remain in record circulation around the world, in part as a perceived safe haven for investors and, not infrequently according to Rogoff, as the preferred vehicle for money launderers and tax evaders. But on Main Street, the use of greenbacks makes some retailers and customers flinch, and contrary to popular belief, there is no federal law that requires businesses to accept cash and coins, according to the Federal Reserve’s website.