PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Blame it on the pandemic. There are fewer coins in circulation.
Workers at the US Mint, which makes the country’s coins, are operating at a reduced production rate because of precautionary measures taken to protect them from the virus. Coins are also accumulating in the homes — and pockets — of people leery of going out in public, CBS News reports.
Customers can use a debit or credit card instead of cash and the coin change can be loaded onto their loyalty card for the next time they’re shopping, Jeffrey Temple with Fred Meyer told KOIN 6 News.
There are other options, too. Customers can get their coin change at a lane with coins available or they can “round up their order to support The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, a public charity committed to creating communities free of hunger and waste,” he said in a statement.
On June 17, US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said, “What’s happened is that with the partial closure of the economy, the flow of coins through the economy has… kind of stopped.”
Other grocers have implemented similar policies in light of the unusual shortage, including Wawa, a chain of 850 convenience stores that has also asked patrons to pay with exact change, CBS News said.