New DC bill seeks to eliminate cashless restaurants

D.C. has cashless restaurants in its crosshair. A new bill introduced by D.C. Councilmember David Grosso would require that District eateries accept cash.

The Cashless Retailers Prohibition Act of 2018 would require restaurants to accept cash "to prevent discrimination against customers who prefer to use cash or do not have access to credit cards."

In the bill, Grosso calls banning the use of cash a discriminatory practice that disproportionately impacts the 10 percent of D.C. residents who are unbanked and 25 percent of residents who are underbanked.

Cashless businesses such as Sweetgreen, Jetties and JRINK say eliminating cash allowed the business to operate more efficiently. Cashless restaurants have also cited security concerns over safety. Having a lot of cash at the end of the night could leave them vulnerable to robberies.

The issue has garnered a lot of debate over whether this bill is an attempt to overregulate D.C. businesses.

"I can see both sides," said one resident. "Businesses should be able to choose what they want to do with their business and what sort of money they want to transact with. But at the same time, cash is still currency. So to say that is not a valued way to pay for something would be kind of frustrating."

The bill, which has yet to be voted on, is supported by D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmembers Anita Bonds, Brianne Nadeau, Vincent Gray and Trayon White.