Guthrie residents are being asked to empty their coin jars and break open their piggy banks.
Local restaurants and retailers need coins.
Since the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, quarantine efforts and social distancing have led to fewer consumers spending physical cash. Because of the unintentional buildup of coins in people’s homes, a nationwide coin shortage has started to effect businesses and banks across the country. Coin deposits are down 50 percent since March 2020.
“The flow of coin through the economy,” said Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, “it’s kind of stopped.”
Guthrie restaurants reported often having too little change on hand.
“It’s hard for us to give back change,” said a Guthrie fast food manager. “We’ve had to start rounding up to the nearest bill.”
Retailers are asking customers to pay with credit cards or use exact change, and the U.S. Mint has requested people “start spending their coins, depositing them, or exchanging them for currency at financial institutions or taking them to a coin redemption kiosk.”
“We’ve had to limit our coin orders for merchants because the Federal Reserve Bank has limited all orders to 25 percent of what we ordered last year,” said Barry Anderson, chief operations officer and president of F&M Bank in Guthrie. “But we’re beginning to restock. There are a lot of good people in Guthrie. People have been bringing in their coins and breaking their piggy banks to get us back what we need.”
The U.S. Mint had to start rationing coins in June. An average of 1 billion coins per month were produced in 2019.
Some Guthrie businesses have fared better than others. Many retailers have seen customers coming in to help as soon as they heard about the disruption in coin circulation.
“Guthrie is so good,” said Sarah Dunlap, manager of Dollar Tree in Guthrie. “A lot of customers have brought in change to help out.”