Coin shortage caused by pandemic

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 11:48 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -During the pandemic, we've experienced a shortage of a variety of items including toilet paper. As supplies start to return normal, the U.S. is seeing another shortage, in pocket change. Which is causing some people to break out their piggy banks.

You may see signs popping up around businesses like Hy-Vee that ask customers to pay with exact change or use a debit or credit card instead. That's because according to the Federal Reserve, there is a national coin shortage caused by COVID-19, which is affecting some businesses.

Throughout the pandemic, business has been steady for Tim Kunkel at Sioux Falls Laundry. However, he is feeling the effect of the coin shortage.

“100 percent of my business revolves around change. We are a coin-operated laundromat,” said Kunkel.

Right now, he's running low on quarters.

“I’ve never had to go to the bank and withdraw quarters before and so over the last couple months I’ve seen it happen a little bit more and a little bit more where I just didn’t have enough quarters to refill my changer,” said Kunkel.

However, Kunkel isn't too worried

“My bank has told me we’re about another month out before we get back to normal and then hopefully we’ll be able to resume normal operations at that time,” said Kunkel.

So why is this happening? According to staff att First Premier Bank there are two factors.

“The circulation of coin through our economy has just slowed as businesses have closed throughout the country. We’ve just seen coin not move through the system and there’s plenty of coin out there, it’s just not where it needs to be,” said Tony Nour, Senior Vice President of Relationship Banking.

The other has to do with the U.S. mint

“Which creates our coin, scaled back on their staffing due to the pandemic. With that scale back they were producing less coin,” said Nour.

Staff at First Premier Bank says they are monitoring the situation. And that there is no need to hoard your coins.

Instead, there’s something we can all do to help. Nour recommends taking the extra change lying around your house and bringing it into the bank. That way you can turn your coins either into dollar bills or put it in your bank account.

“And they may be asked to, by retailers is use exact change, use your debit card,” said Nour.

Nour says the change shortage isn’t as much of a problem in South Dakota since the state did not have a full shutdown like other states did.

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