Evanston alders Monday will consider two new restrictions on local businesses — a 15-cent bag tax and a requirement that retailers accept cash for all transactions.
The bag tax ordinance — replacing an existing city ban on thin plastic bags at large retail stores — would be the most restrictive in the state — imposing the tax on carryout single use bags of any thickness, paper and compostable bags from all stores, with some exceptions, and completely banning plastic single-use point-of-sale bags and produce bags starting on April 1, 2024.
Only four other communities in Illinois restrict bag usage. Chicago has a 7-cent fee, and Edwardsville, Oak Park and Woodstock have 10-cent fees, on paper and plastic bags.
The proposed requirement to accept cash for retail transactions comes as one major restaurant chain in the Chicago area, Portillo’s has announced that it will no longer accept cash at its drive-thrus.
A company spokesman says the change, taking effect next week, was driven by concerns about “the safety of Portillo’s team members and more efficient operations to benefit restaurant guests.”
Portillo’s doesn’t have any shops in Evanston, but Hewn Bakery on Central Street has been limiting customers to credit or debit card transactions as a health and safety measure since the pandemic.