By Faye Gaston

Some businesses have no coins to give in change or are rounding prices to exact amounts because paper bills are not in short supply. There is at least one business in Union Springs with a sign to pay the exact amount of the sale or use electronic payment.

However, some customers do not have a bank account and cannot do electronic transactions and have no debit card.

Coins are in short supply for several reasons. The public has a fear of getting COVID-19 by touching coins: some starting hoarding coins and hoarding money in general.

New coin production was hampered at the United States Mint's production facilities in March and April.

Banks are also suffering through a lack of "flow of coins" and are working with the mint to increase the supply and work with the reserve banks to get a supply where it needs to be. Laundry mats, car washes, and soft drink machines all deal in coins.

The absence of enough coins in the nation's marketplace alarmed the federal government.

Last month the Federal Reserve established a United States Coin Task Force (22 members) to "mitigate the effects of low coin inventories caused by the COVID-19 pandemic" They will make recommendations in early August to identify steps to address the current coin circulation shortage.

Last month the Federal Reserve began allocating money from existing coin inventories to banks as a temporary measure. As of April, nearly $48 billion of coins were in circulation.

The Feds are confident the coin inventory issues will resolve once the economy opens more broadly, and the coin supply chain returns to normal circulation patterns. They believe this is a temporary situation.

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