The next time you see that penny, or dime on the sidewalk, you might just think about picking it up. On the heels of shortages of toilet paper and hand sanitizers, now we're looking at a coin shortage?

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WIVB-TV reports that government officials say with lockdowns and people staying home more as fewer folks are out spending money, they are literally “keeping the change.”

To this point, it hasn't had a large impact on Western New York but the number of signs is growing. A coin shortage blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Convenience stores are getting hit especially hard by the coin shortage.

The Federal Reserve is rationing coins to banks, which are supplying fewer coins to convenience stores and gas stations.

As part of the effort to protect its workers, the US Mint severely curtailed operations, and that made fewer coins available.

American consumers are spending less money, and that is taking coins out of circulation, and retailers have written the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve to put more coins on the street, calling the shortage an “emergency.”

The Fed has responded, but there is no telling when or if the supply of coins will be replenished.

Wegmans for instance has not had a problem with the coin shortage, but the largest grocery chain in the US, Kroger, is taking change from cash transactions and applying it toward customers’ loyalty cards, or a Kroger charity.

You may have noticed some stores like Walmart preferring a debit or credit card to a cash transaction.

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