Like many eating establishments during the pandemic, the restaurant Dune in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village neighborhood made a lot of changes. Customers can’t enter the building, must order over an intercom and eat at tables outside on the sidewalk. And, they can only pay using digital systems or credit cards.

Simon Phan, Dune’s operations manager, said the cash-free switch was originally based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it has worked well for his staff.

“We are a very high volume restaurant,” Phan said. “For a customer to be fluffling around with their wallet, maybe some even trying to give you the precise change … if you can just tap your phone, you’re done, you’re out, and we can attend to the next customer.”

Square, the digital payments company, estimates the number of businesses that have gone cashless in the United States has doubled since the pandemic began, according to a recent report, that studied Square payments data. Square says up to 18% of businesses that use its service have gone cash-free.

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