Penniless in a pandemic: the national coin shortage

Holden Forero: Photography Editor

So a person walks into a gas station to get their weekly supply of root beer and vanilla ice cream with a crisp $20 bill in hand when the cashier asks for exact change due to a coin shortage. Citizens of the United States, young and old, are wondering how this situation occurs.
Despite what a person might be thinking, it is not the fault of a man in Wyoming who may be hoarding all the coins in his basement, but that is a nice guess. It is a result of the pandemic at hand, causing a halt in the supply chain with people not out buying products, due to mandated stay at home orders. In reality, there is not a total shortage of coins out there, but a shortage of coins in stores and restaurants due to lack of circulation.
“Most of our income on a day-to-day basis is from cash, so forcing customers to only pay digitally will significantly decrease our revenue,” says Yucaipa High Senior and McDonald’s worker, Isaac Ramirez when asked if the McDonald’s on Yucaipa Boulevard was strictly accepting exact change.
On top of not exchanging currency, health experts recommend not using physical money to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, meaning stores have even less change in their registers.
While the Federal Reserve is trying to mandate stores to not give out change, it is hard to force everybody to do so. As a result of this, the United States Mint has worked to produce more coins than they have made in 20 years.
“Both locations have been working at full production capacity, while keeping workers safe, since mid-June,” stated a U.S. Mint spokesperson, Mikey White, on producing coins during the pandemic.
One may assume producing an influx of coins may automatically cause inflation, but the Mint plans on exchanging coins for cash from banks to avoid that issue. Pretty soon, everyone will be able to go back to add money to the family 5-gallon coin jar with the change they get from businesses.


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