Why coins are suddenly in short supply

bdmetronews Desk ॥  A shortage of circulating coins born out of the coronavirus pandemic has spurred the creation of a U.S. coin task force to help solve the problem.

At fast-food restaurants, supermarkets, banks and other businesses across the country where cash normally changes hands, customers are being warned that coins are in short supply.

Scott Talan found that out last weekend when he used a Starbucks drive-thru in Virginia and was met by a handwritten sign that read, “Due to the national coin shortage, we can only accept exact change or electronic payment at this time.”

He thought it was a prank.

“I was going to email the store manager or Starbucks headquarters because it didn’t look official,” said Talan, an assistant professor at American University in Washington. “It’s all very strange and fitting of the times we’re in.”

Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The apparent absence of enough coins in the nation’s marketplace has so alarmed the federal government that last month the Federal Reserve established a U.S. Coin Task Force to “mitigate the effects of low coin inventories caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The 22 members of the task force were announced Friday, representing government agencies, banks and businesses, and they will meet this month with the goal of sharing recommendations in early August to identify “actionable steps that supply chain participants can take to address the current coin circulation issue.”

 

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