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Bag Ban Lifted for Essential Businesses During COVID-19

Mayor Walsh has announced that the ban on single-use plastic bags in the City of Boston has been temporarily lifted for essential businesses during the public health emergency of coronavirus.

Boston’s plastic bag ordinance went into effect in December 2018 and was rolled out in stages through July 2019 to stores of all sizes. Consumers have started to get used to bringing their own reusable bag with them to the stores, or paying extra for a bag at check-out.

To protect both customers and store employees at essential businesses that will remain open during the COVID-19 emergency order, these retail locations will be allowed to use plastic bags, and will be exempt from the requirement that they charge customers a fee for checkout bags.

“During this challenging time, we understand the retail establishments our residents rely on— like grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants—need added flexibility to best serve their customers,” said Mayor Walsh. “We are adjusting Boston’s plastic bag ordinance to give establishments and residents the help they need during this time.”

This Executive Order went into effect on March 24, 2020, and will be in effect until the last day of the Public Health Emergency declared by the Boston Public Health Commission.

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