Businesses that only accept cashless forms of payment are facing thousands of dollars in fines from the city of New York for not accepting the legal tender.
Numerous retailers have been fined thousands of dollars since the New York City Council passed the cashless ban in January 2020, including upscale ice cream store Van Leeuwen, which was fined over $12,000 as of Monday and has refused to enable customers to pay by cash. Twenty-three other businesses have also been fined.
Supporters of the ban say only allowing customers to pay without hard cash is discriminatory against poor people, who may not have bank accounts or credit cards, as well as minors.
“The City of New York cannot allow the digital economy to leave behind the 25% of New Yorkers who are chronically unbanked and underbanked,” then-Councilman Ritchie Torres said when the bill was passed.
Critics say accepting cash is a safety issue, as more businesses moved to cash-free payment models during the pandemic to lower the transmission of COVID-19. It also decreases the risk of robbery.
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Crime has surged in New York and other major cities this year, with New York's overall crime rate growing by 11.2% in October, according to the New York Police Department. Robberies have increased by nearly 16%.
The Washington Examiner reached out to Van Leeuwen for comment but did not hear back.