Pandemic shortages lead to lack of cups

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There is more collateral damage from the COVID-19 pandemic to report on, product shortages are being felt at restaurants and now coffee shops.

Paper and plastic cups are hard to come by these days. A year and a half into this pandemic and new shortages are appearing every day. Coffee shops are encouraging reusable cups more than ever.

Cold-brew or hot will determine paper or plastic. Either order uses products that are hard for businesses to place their own order.

“Now our new shortage is our 16 ounce cold cups. Which is going to turn into our hot cups, lids, and sleeves for coffees,” said Zummo’s Cafe General Manager Lindsay Joyce.

Lindsay Joyce runs Zummo’s Cafe. She tells Eyewitness News the cafe ran out of 20-ounce cups a month ago and won’t be delivered until the end of November.

On Wednesday a post on Facebook asks customers to BYORC or ‘bring your own reusable cup’. Scranton resident Ben Hialstone got the message.

“I come here once, twice a week probably and they’ve always brought me much comfort in drinking good coffee. So I figured why not help them out in this time of need and start bringing my own reusable cup in,” said Hialstone.

He hopes others follow suit.

“I had it at my house, just in a closet. So, I grabbed it out this morning brought it on over here,” said Hialstone.

“We’re just kind of trying to, again slow down the enviable,” said Joyce.

According to Business Insider, the cup shortage now dates back to the beginning of the pandemic when PPE and single-use products were in high production because of demand.

A shortage in workers has caused a ripple effect. Jennifer Saunders started seeing it in July at Northern Lights Espresso Bar.

“Just really trying to find any type of cup that fits our size drinks and that’s what we’ve had to do,” said Saunders.

Saunders says she has looked for other vendors to fill the void. She adds if shipments are not received by next week the bar will run out of cups. Reuseable “Mugs” are also encouraged here.

“That’s probably the easiest solution now to just help us,” said Saunders.

If you don’t bring a reusable cup, owners say, don’t be surprised a size that you want is not in stock.

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