Local businesses suffer as coronavirus pandemic creates nationwide coin shortage

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – The coronavirus pandemic has created a coin shortage across the country, which is impacting businesses that rely mostly on change.

Laundromat owners told FOX40, before this pandemic they used to bring extra coins back to the bank. Now, they’re having to buy more of them from the bank. 

In the end, that’s costing them money.

“We’ve been losing a lot of quarters ever since COVID-19 started,” laundromat owner Herb McKay said. “It’s harder to get quarters now. We have to go to the bank, we have to order them.”

McKay owns four laundromats in Woodland, Winters, Vacaville and Richmond. He said getting the change into his machines costs him money.

“Most banks charge a fee to get them, and we have to order them. We can’t just walk into a bank and order $2,000 worth of quarters,” McKay explained. “I’ve got to call them several days ahead. I’m losing probably $1,500 to $2,000 per week in some of my stores.”

Other businesses are also feeling the pinch.

Signs asking for payments of exact change or by credit card have started to pop up at In-N-Out restaurants all over California.

McKay said the shortage has some businesses coming to his change machines, stealing away coins from his customers.

“They’re coming in putting $200 or $300 of quarters, bills in my change and taking those out. So, that hurts me as a business because my customers need the quarters to start their machines,” McKay explained.

The Federal Reserve points to the closure of so many retail shops and other businesses as the main cause of the shortage.

It has set up a U.S. Coin Task Force to improve coin circulation during the pandemic.

“Everybody is in the same condition,” McKay said. “There isn’t anybody that’s not running out of quarters.”

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