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National coin shortage felt locally

By JAZMINE BUNCH

RCNH News Intern

Signs that encourage social distancing have been placed in every store. But there’s a new addition to store billboard and storefronts: a recommendation that customers use exact change amid a national coin shortage.

The United States is experiencing a shortage in coins, another result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Federal Reserve, the pandemic has caused a disruption to the supply chain, interrupting the normal flow of U.S. coins.

A sign at the entrance of a local convenience store advises customers of a shortage of coins due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Jazmine Bunch

Mass economic closures following Coronavirus shutdowns have led to less coins getting into the hands of consumers. The Mint is responsible for determining how many coins should be produced each year.

The shortage also stems from a decrease in coin production at the U.S. Mint, which reduced production to protect employees.

Many stores in the R-C area have put up signs to make customers aware of the national coin shortage. Speedway in Ahoskie posted a sign alongside social distance warnings that urged customers to “please use correct change of other forms of tender.”

Restaurants have the notice posted at the first window of the drive-through. The Ahoskie Walmart transitioned all self-checkout stations to debit/credit card mode only. Local banks received a partial of their usual supply order.

Although the coin shortage could be a minor inconvenience to customers paying with cash, transitioning to alternative methods, to include non-cash payments, works with efforts to slow the spread by using contactless payment options.

In a statement from the Federal Reserve, they were “confident that the coin inventory issues will resolve” following the re-opening of the economy and restoration of the coin supply chain.

In the meantime, you can support local businesses and banks by paying with exact change and/or cashing in those extra coins you’ve been saving for a rainy day.