The debate over whether restaurants should be able to go cashless has existed since long before the coronavirus. But in a time of heightened cleaning procedures, glove-wearing, and social distancing, the simple act of legal tender exchanging hands has become more fraught than ever before.

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Before the pandemic, the conversation around cashless restaurants included factors like the environment (fewer armored cars on the road means less air pollution), safety (restaurants are less likely to be robbed if there"s no cash on the premises), and equal access (customers without bank accounts may not have access to alternate forms of payment). But with the spread of coronavirus, there are more factors to consider. Money could be teeming with bacteria on the surface, forcing cashiers to change gloves after every customer who pays in cash. And in grocery stores with plexiglass separating customers from employees, the monetary exchange itself is a bit of an awkward dance.


Given how easily the coronavirus can spread, safety is more important than ever for both customers and essential workers. With that in mind, here are some restaurants that have instituted cashless policies, at least in some states.

Fast Food Restaurants Introducing Cashless Payments


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You can"t eat inside In-N-Out restaurants, but you can still pay with cash at the drive-thru. "We are continuing to accept cash as payment," a rep for In-N-Out said in a statement provided to Eat This, Not That!. So if you"re worried about getting your animal-style fries, fear not.


Have you experienced a fast-food or fast-casual chain tell you they"re not taking cash payments? We want to know! Send us an email at editors
les-grizzlys-catalans.org.

This post has been updated to include information from Noodles & Company and In-N-Out Burger.

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Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage.Readmore