Businesses across the United States are worried about not having two pennies to rub together, literally, thanks to the toll on coin circulation from the coronavirus pandemic. According to repeated Federal Reserve statements, the virus has stalled the circulation of coins all over the economy. The Federal Reserve has said that it is to blame for store closures and lockdown measures.
Federal Reserve is concerned
“While the economy has ample coin. The slow rate of production has ensured that adequate amounts of coin are not readily available where appropriate”. The Federal Reserve said in a statement”. With institutions such as grocery stores, bank branches, transport services and laundromats closed, the usual places where coins enter our society have hindered or even halted the regular circulating of coins.”
The upshot is that big names stores as well as small shops are encouraging customers to pay with credit or debit cards, give up exact cash, or donate a few spare cents to charities. But groups of consumers most affected by the coronavirus — the poor and the marginalized — are also more likely to get a hit from the inability of many stores to handle traditional cash transactions.
Since early on in the pandemic, both financial and health concerns regarding the use of cash have taken center stage. Previously the World Health Organization backed off fears that COVID-19 could travel by physical currency. Metal coins are facing greater risk than the iconic cotton-linen bills of the United States. With Mayo Clinic suggesting that metal is more vulnerable to viral infection than tissue.
Transactions often pose a potential danger, as direct communication between customers and cashiers has historically been necessary. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that retailers “encourage shoppers, where appropriate. To use touchless payment solutions”. And “minimize cash handling, credit cards, loyalty cards, and mobile apps, when possible.”