A Washington, D.C., councilman introduced a bill Tuesday that would ban retail food establishments from refusing cash payments because the practice allegedly discriminates against low-income people.
The bill would classify eateries that go cashless as committing an unlawful trade practice. It pushes back against a trend that restaurant and food chain owners say enables them to serve patrons more quickly and makes them less likely to be targets of crime.
Councilman David Grosso, who spearheaded the bill, called going cashless a “discriminatory practice that disproportionately impacts the 10 percent of DC residents who are unbanked” while introducing the bill on Tuesday. (RELATED: Public-Sector Unions Are Facing A Cascade Of Lawsuits For Skimming Workers’ Wages)
Going cashless shuts out “young” patrons, too, Grosso added.
The bill would also make it illegal for restaurants to charge different prices depending on a customers’ form of payment.
Many Washington, D.C., restaurants have gone cashless to prevent robbery. One hundred sixty-five burglaries and robberies of restaurants were reported to police in 2016, reported Washington City Paper.
Salad chain Sweetgreen started the trend in March 2017, reported Washington City Paper. Other eateries in the District like Jettie’s, Barcelona Wine Bar and Jrink no longer accept cash.
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