Local banking institutions are changing the way they handle money due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Bank of the Cherokee County, like some others in this area, has already closed its lobby and is only providing drive-thru services. That bank and others have implemented protocols when it comes to handling currency.
Susan Plumb, board chair and CEO, said the institution is going through all steps necessary to combat potential threats of the coronavirus.
"All of our tellers are wearing gloves, and when we get large cash orders in, we are sanitizing the money," Plumb said on Monday. "We spray the money with Lysol. You can wash it, you can do all kinds of things; money is almost indestructible."
The shutdown of the lobby eliminates most threats of contagion.
"It does," Plumb said. "We've gone to pretty extreme social distancing inside our work environment, and we have the ability to do that. The [U.S.] Secretary of Treasury [Steven Mnuchin] issued a letter over the weekend that basically ... makes sure that everybody understands a bank is included in the essential businesses."
Arvest Bank has the following statement on its website: "In an effort to help our communities, customers and associates fight the spread of COVID-19, beginning Friday, March 20, 2020, all Arvest branch lobbies and in-store branches will be closed until further notice. We will continue offering drive thru, ATM and ATM with Live Teller services at branches that feature those capabilities."
First State Bank Tahlequah closed its lobby doors on Monday, according to its website.
BancFirst is maintaining normal hours.
People who accept currency from other sources, such as grocery stores, are encouraging to wash their hands after touching it, but the threat of catching the virus from currency is relatively low.