OTTAWA -- The Bank of Canada is encouraging retailers to continue to accept cash, despite ramped-up health precautions by all levels of government to thwart the spread of COVID-19.

The central bank is asking Canadians to follow the same public health standards after handling money as they would after touching any other item in the public domain, such as doorknobs or gas pumps.

"The risks posed from handling Canadian bank notes are no greater than those posed by touching other common surfaces such as doorknobs, kitchen counters and handrails. Canadians handling cash should follow the public health guidelines on COVID-19 and wash their hands as they would do for other activities," the bank said in a statement to

"If individuals want to take additional safety precautions at this time, it is possible to clean polymer bank notes with a bit of soap and water since they are resistant to moisture. Note that this is not the case for older paper bank notes."

Some businesses are choosing to limit or reject cash to mitigate contamination, a trend the Bank of Canada discourages during this economically turbulent time.

"Refusing cash could put an undue burden on people who depend on cash as a means of payment. The Bank strongly advocates that retailers continue to accept cash to ensure Canadians can have access to the goods and services they need."

The Bank of Canada is also working with financial institutions across the country to ensure no disruption in cash flow.