Proposed ban on cashless stores expanded to include Amazon Go

Supervisor Vallie Brown on Tuesday announced she is expanding her proposed ban on cashless businesses to include Amazon Go, which has two stores in San Francisco and plans for a third.

Brown first introduced the cashless business ban last month, calling it an equity issue for those with limited access to banking and credit cards, but had initially excluded Amazon Go.

Philadelphia became the first city in the nation to ban cashless businesses earlier this month. On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a similar bill banning cashless retail stores and restaurants. Massachusetts has a law that dates back to 1978 that bans cashless businesses.

“After talking with my colleagues and business owners and folks in the community about my cash requirement legislation I am substituting the file today to ensure that brick and mortar businesses like Amazon Go can no longer deny goods and services to San Franciscans who do not have access to banking services,” Brown said.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.

Amazon Go is a cashierless store where customers grab items and are charged automatically through their smartphones.

Brown previously said she didn’t include Amazon Go because they don’t have any employees to accept the cash payments.

But on Tuesday, she said that Amazon is seeing record profits. “They can afford to hire employees to accept cash or come up with some other solution for accepting cash,” Brown said.

Amazon Go has locations at California and Battery streets and Post and Kearny streets, with plans to open a third site at 575 Market St.

“We are going to do the right thing to ensure equitable access to our stores and restaurants for all San Franciscans,” Brown said.

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