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Coronavirus leads to reusable bag bans

Plastic bags – which had been subject to bans in certain cities, states and stores because of their environmental impact – are seeing a sudden resurgence during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fearing the spread of the virus on reusable bags, lawmakers throughout the country have taken steps in recent weeks to usher plastic bags back into stores and ban reusable bags, at least temporarily.

In recent years, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont have taken steps to ban single-use plastic bags in one form or another. Many local municipalities also have implemented bans or restrictions.

But lawmakers are reconsidering those bans.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills has delayed the state’s ban on single-use plastic bags from going into effect until Jan. 15, 2021. It had been set to take effect on Earth Day, April 22.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has directed all retailers to use single-use bags and prevented them from using reusable bags for now.

Oregon also has suspended its brand-new ban on plastic bags, and cities from Bellingham, Washington, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, have announced a hiatus on their bans.

Some plastic bag bans are suddenly being reversed during the coronavirus epidemic.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker iordered 139 municipalities that had placed restrictions on single-use bags to overturn those laws, according to multiple reports.

“From now on, reusable bags are prohibited and all regulations on plastic bag bans will be lifted,” Baker said, according to WBUR

In San Francisco, the Department of Public Health’s health officer issued an order preventing businesses from “permitting customers to bring their own bags, mugs or other reusable items from home.”

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