(Photo by Flickr user Marc Szarkowski, used under a Creative Commons license)
Mayor Jim Kenney officially signed into law a piece of legislation this Thursday that will preclude most Philly stores from refusing to accept cash as a form of payment.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the amendment to the “Fair Practices Ordinance: Protections Against Unlawful Discrimination” section of the City code will impose a fine of up to $2,000 on establishments that only accept electronic forms of payment. The law provides an out for certain types of businesses, like parking garages or membership-based establishments.
The new law goes into effect July 1.
“This decision comes despite our continued concerns about how this legislation might impact innovation in our retail sector,” City spokesman Mike Dunn told the outlet. “We will continue to monitor this, as we face the ongoing challenge of growing our economy while ensuring that growth is inclusive.”
The piece of legislation, introduced by by Councilman Bill Greenle and María Quiñonez-Sánchez, was approved by City Council on Feb. 5. The impetus behind the bill was to ensure that the city’s underbanked aren’t excluded from local stores, some of which — such as fast-casual salad joint Sweetgreen or Bluestone Lane coffee shop — have already gone cashless.
An Inquirer story published Monday said City officials had been communicating with Amazon — a proponent of the cashless modality — ahead of the legislation’s approval, according to emails it obtained. Greenle said the language around membership models could allow the company to open its stores in Philly.
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