People wearing protective face masks amid the spread of the new coronavirus enter a grocery store that accepts U.S. dollars in…
People wearing protective face masks amid the spread of the new coronavirus enter a grocery store that accepts U.S. dollars in Havana, Cuba, July 20, 2020.

Cuba increased the number of food stores that accept U.S. dollars and eliminated a 10 percent tax on the U.S. currency, in the government's latest efforts to secure hard cash to bolster the island nation’s weak economy. 

People lined up at designated stores that only accept hard currency to purchase items in short supply such as meat, rice and cleaning supplies. 

The new exchange system set off criticism on social media that the government is creating a special class of consumer who is fortunate enough to have U.S. dollars and other hard currencies. 

Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel recently rejected that accusation, saying the government will allow all citizens to buy 47 items using local currency or they will receive them through monthly aid to families. 

The government denied that people without hard currency will be left behind in the economy.