Bag bans dropped in coronavirus' wake

  • 6 April 2020
  • NormanL

The actions governments and private businesses have taken in reponse to the coronavirus has served at least some good. They have exposed rules and regulations we could easily live without. Included on that list: the bans against plastic grocery bags. It turns out the reusable bags we're pushed to use may not be all that healthy -- virus or no virus. And local governments are backtracking on the the bag bans:

The city of San Francisco is forbidding shoppers from carrying reusable bags into grocery stores out of fear that they could spread the coronavirus.

As part of its shelter-in-place ordinance, the California city barred stores from "permitting customers to bring their own bags, mugs, or other reusable items from home." The city noted that transferring the bags back and forth led to unnecessary contact between employees and shoppers.

This decision leaves shoppers with few options to carry home their goods. The city was the first to ban plastic shopping bags in 2007 to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced by residents. Most stores switched to paper bags only, with many residents opting to use reusable totes.

People will find work-arounds. But in the longer term, we would also much prefer governments stick to more important issues -- like pandemic preperation -- than regulating the shopping bag choices of local residents.