Single-Use Bags Are Back in Favor

New Hampshire retailers reject reusable bags and New York and Maine delay enforcement of bans.

March 24, 2020

CONCORD, N.H.—Retail stores in New Hampshire have been ordered to temporarily offer only single-use paper or plastic bags because reusable bags could pose a risk of coronavirus transmission, according to U.S. News. Governor Chris Sununu has directed all grocers and retail stores to make the transition to paper and plastic "as soon as feasibly possible.”

“Our grocery store workers are on the front lines of COVID-19, working around the clock to keep New Hampshire families fed,” the governor said in a statement. “With identified community transmission, it is important that shoppers keep their reusable bags at home given the potential risk to baggers, grocers and customers."

A number of other localities that had instituted bans on plastic bags are putting them on hold, EcoWatch reports.

Last week, the Massachusetts Food Administration asked the state’s governor to rescind bans on plastic bags amid concerns that handling bring-your-own resuable bags is a health risk to checkout clerks.

New York state won’t enforce its plastic bag ban until at least May 15, and Maine is delaying enforcement until Jan. 15, 2021. The city of Denver, Colorado, is considering delaying its ban until Jan. 1, 2021, Denverite reports.

“People feel like a brand new plastic bag is more sanitary,” Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black told Denverite. “City staff and consumers have other priorities right now.”

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.