Coin shortage demonstrates another effect of COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 4:16 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 21:01:15-04

BOZEMAN — You probably haven't noticed it yet, but our country is currently in a nationwide shortage of coins. But there’s no need to panic.

“You may have some coins at home, I don’t know — I would think the way to help solve this, it’ll work out over time, but if you want to immediately help it, gather up your coins at home and bring them to the bank,” explained Clinton Gerst, president of the Bank of Bozeman.

The nationwide change shortage is one of the latest effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Fed had cut down some of the coin production during this viral pandemic, and we had a lot of businesses close that had received coins, so the coin circulation in the economy was reduced and is reduced because of this virus,” Gerst said.

Different businesses are finding their own alternatives to the shortage.

“So some will say, 'Oh, we can only take exact change.' But if you don’t have exact change, you can round up and we’ll make a donation to some sort of charity or something like that, so some are doing that,” he said.

But the solution might be on hold until more businesses are able to start coming back.

“I think once they start using cash and coins, that’ll start the circulation and relieving the shortage. So actually, as businesses start opening up and people start paying more with cash, then we’ll see that cash circulating and it’s a temporary problem,” said Gerst.

So, if you have any loose change around your home, now would be a good time to gather it up and exchange it for cash.

“You don’t need to wrap it up. Like in the old days, you had to put it in the rolls in the pennies and nickels," Gerst said.

Again, we’re dealing with a coin shortage and not a cash shortage.

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