BUSINESSES across the country have been urging customers to make contactless payments, amid concerns that banknotes could spread coronavirus by passing on the disease - and some have even barred people from using cash altogether.

But Samuel Smith's Brewery pubs have reopened in York with the opposite policy in force: their customers are being told they must pay by cash only, with credit and debit cards not accepted.

Pubs including the Burns Hotel in Market Street and the Brigadier Gerard in Monkgate are continuing with an existing and unusual cash only policy, which was introduced by the brewery long before lockdown.

Customers have also contacted The Press to complain that the price of beer, previously exceptionally cheap, had been hiked since before the pubs were closed by the lockdown - although one conceded that the cost of a pint was still competitive in comparison to what was being charged in many other pubs.

The landladies at both the Burns Hotel and the Brigadier Gerard declined to comment on either the continuing cash only policy or the increase in the price of a pint, and a brewery spokesman also declined to comment.