Neighbors Bring Back Bartering System For Essential Goods Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

May 13, 2020

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — A group of New York neighbors hard hit by coronavirus have turned to using the bartering system to exchange goods.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports a group of neighbors in the Port Washington section of Long Island are putting a modern twist on the ancient practice during the coronavirus shutdown.

They use cell phones to communicate with one another, asking what they would like in exchange for another item.

One neighbor recently offered up tomatoes in exchange for homemade chocolate chip cookies. 

Resident Randy Shain started the system shortly after the stay-at-home order began.

“People started saying, ‘I’m going to the market, what do you need?’ And I would tell them a couple of things that I needed and then create something with those things and bring it over,” he explains. 

Shain says the system works so that people take fewer trips to the supermarket and abide by social distancing guidelines.

It’s also helping to forge relationships between neighbors. 

“I’m not suggested I would want a pandemic to make that happen, but if you had to get anything out of it, getting a new friend is certain a nice consolation prize,” he said. 

The bartering system set up by the neighbors is likely to continue as Long Island officials remain uncertain as to when Nassau and Suffolk counties will reopen. 

The biggest challenge facing Long Island is the number of contact tracers still needed, according to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

The area, according to Curran, already has some trained tracers, but given the vast spread of coronavirus, they need to hire and train dozens more to properly tract the spread of the virus.  

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