Retailers plea for exact change amid national shortage of coins

Local News

You may want to break out that piggy bank, the latest COVID-19 shortage is for coins.

The coronavirus crisis has led to a nationwide shortage of coins. Local small business owners like Al Bingenheimer are feeling the pinch.

“I went to the bank today they said they have no more coins for me today,” said Bingenheimer, who owns Neighborhood Laundromat in Chesterfield and two others in Richmond.

The machines take quarters and his laundromats can go through thousands of them a month.

“Once the coins run out, I am out of business,” he told 8News. Bingenheimer is not the only one that’s feeling a pinch. Gas stations across the country are feeling shortchanged.

Omar Zayed works at Snappy Gas in Cleveland, Ohio. He says the shortage is bad for business, telling customers, “Can we owe you a couple pennies until tomorrow or don’t worry about the pennies – there’s no pennies available.”

The Federal Reserve first revealed last month that nationwide shutdown orders have significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation for U.S. coins. Bingenheimer says, “It started off with it’s just going to be a few weeks of shutdown and then now it’s turned into a nationwide conundrum and now it’s money we are running out of.”

At stores like Aldi and 7-Eleven retailers are posting signs pleading for exact change. In a statement 7-Eleven, Inc. told 8News:

“The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a national coin shortage that may last for several months. Because of this, we’ve suggested store operators encourage their customers to pay with exact change, pay by card or use a contactless payment method to reserve the amount of coins available at each register. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes customers.”

Meantime, Bingenheimer is thankful he launched a mobile pay system for customers earlier this year. Still, he is making a plea to those with jars of coins at home.

“At this point I would ask that you know everybody go to their little buckets that we all have in our homes and grab some coin rollers and take your stuff to the bank because small businesses like mine really need it,” Bingenheimer said.

Another factor leading to the shortage, the Fed says the U.S. Mint reduced coin production to keep their employees safe from COVID-19. The Fed chairman, Jerome Powell, has told lawmakers this shortage is likely temporary.

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