Coin Shortage Caused by Pandemic Impacting Bay Area Businesses

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One of the side effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been a shortage of coins and some neighbors and businesses, like laundromats, say they’re seeing the impact. 

Catina Johnson went to a laundromat in North Beach to get change in quarters, but the building didn’t offer change. 

“I actually thought I would be able to go somewhere and find them but I wasn’t able to,” said Johnson. 

It was her third stop looking for change. 

“I need about $20 but I'm going to try and do $10 because I don’t want to wipe them out,” she said. “I’ve heard about the shortage in coins in the general public.”

Ted Varlow owns Wash This, he typically empties washers and dryers and puts coins back in the change machine. 

“In the past what has happened is they will bring in a roll of quarters because quarters were much more available or they will bring in change that they collected for a week or two and do their laundry with that I think there is a shortage now,” said Varlow. 

Fortunately, his bank is able to provide him with enough quarters, but the challenge isn’t unique.

The United States Mint said in a statement in part, “During this pandemic the demand for coins has drastically increased in part because precautions taken throughout the nation to slow the spread of the virus have reduced retail sales activity and decreased deposits from third party coin processors.”

“I heard that the mints are going to be mintig more coins so if that happens I think we can be alright,” said Varlow.

The U.S. Mint has boosted production and a U.S. Coin Task Force has convened to address COVID-19-related coin circulation issues. 

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