Coins hard to find? Retailers say blame the COVID-19 pandemic

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- As if the initial shortage of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and gloves weren't enough, now there are reports of a coin shortage. But are they true? The short answer is yes.

You've probably noticed the signs at the grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers asking you to pay with exact cash or by card.

"We're a gas station and convenience store so maybe impacting us a little more," said Nick Ruffner at Sheetz.

Sheetz is feeling the effect. Ruffner said the Federal Reserve has seen a sharp decline in coin circulation but despite conspiracy theories about a cashless society, coins are still plentiful. The problem is people aren't spending them as much because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We still have a lot of businesses across the country shut down due to social distancing so that's causing a circulation issue but it's also social distancing measures that were put in place by the U.S. mint so that causes a supply issue," Ruffner said.

The other concern: are cash and coins safe? There's no significant evidence that proves the novel coronavirus can be transmitted through the exchange. Still, it's not a bad idea to keep things touchless
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.