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A central Italian town has reportedly resorted to printing its own banknotes to help those in need during the coronavirus outbreak.
Castellino del Biferno, located about 158 miles southwest of Rome, is distributing the “Ducati” bills – worth about one Euro each — to more than 200 of its families who can, in turn, redeem them on essential goods at local shops, EuroNews reported.
Then every two weeks, the businesses return the banknotes to the town and receive an equivalent number of Euros.
“We decided to mint money to make sure the local economy could withstand the impact of the situation,” the town’s mayor, Enrico Fratangelo, was quoted as saying. “However small this economy may be, there are three or four businesses still open, without considering bars or pubs.”
The “Ducati” bills are printed locally – and nearly 4,000 of them have already been redeemed at the town’s butcher store, according to EuroNews.
Each bill has a picture of a local attraction, ranging from the town’s church to its public swimming pool.
“It’s a beautiful initiative. It helps us residents of this small town, and it helps us help our businesses,” local resident Mario D’Angelo told the news outlet.
Fratangelo told EuroNews that Castellino del Biferno received around $6,000 in cash from the Italian government to set up a food voucher program for the most vulnerable of its 550 residents. That – combined with the town’s savings – helped established the banknote operation.