NYC councilman says cashless restaurants discriminate against poor

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Some restaurants in New York City no longer accept cash, but that practice could change now that a city councilman is proposing legislation to ban cash-free businesses.

Part of what makes fast casual chains like Sweetgreen and Dig Inn so fast is the fact that customers can't use cash -- only credit cards or apps.

According to NYC Councilman Richie Torres, that's discriminatory.

"We should not be stigmatizing how poor people purchase goods and services," Torres said Thursday.

He has introduced legislation that would mandate the acceptance of cash and would fine places $500 every time they refused it.

The idea is to protect the poor or undocumented who don't have a line of credit. And that's something that some customers said they hadn't even considered.

Places that go cashless often do so because it's easy, modern and more hygienic. And if there's no cash on hand, there's no money to steal.

"Cashless policies could have efficiencies but that's hardly an excuse for discriminating against the under-banked," Torres said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Dig Inn, Sweetgreen and Dos Toros, some of the places with cashless policies, but didn't hear back.

Torres expects push-back from the businesses, but hopes they will opt to be more inclusive and accept cash.

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