Reusable shopping bags: Safe or vectors for Wuhan virus?



Homer City Council temporarily lifted the ban on single use bags at a meeting Monday night. The council passed a special ordinance that is in effect until Sept. 15, or whenever the current coronavirus state of emergency is lifted.

The plastic bag ban had just gone into effect in Homer on Jan. 1. It had been put in law by Proposition 1, a voter initiative that appeared on Homer’s 2019 General Election.

At Three Bears markets, the management has banned the cloth and fiber bags that shoppers have been bringing from home as a result of the bag bans in Wasilla, Palmer and in the Anchorage city limits. Three Bears says that for the safety of all, only unused plastic and paper bags are allowed to pack out groceries. Three Bears has stores in Wasilla, Palmer, Chugiak, Tok, and Kenai.

Wasilla’s bag ban has been in effect since July of 2018. Palmer has banned single-use bags since 2019.

Across the country, jurisdictions are suddenly doing an about-face on the bags that people bring with them into stores.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu issued an emergency order over weekend banning the reusable shopping bags. Stores in the Live Free or Die State must now either provide disposable plastic or paper bags.

“Our grocery store workers are on the front lines of COVID-19, working around the clock to keep New Hampshire families fed,” said Gov. Sununu, a Republican. “With identified community transmission, it is important that shoppers keep their reusable bags at home given the potential risk to baggers, grocers and customers. This Emergency Order directs all grocers and retail stores in the state to temporarily transition to only use new paper or plastic grocery bags provided by stores as soon as feasibly possible.”

Maine’s Democrat Gov. Janet Mills announced last week that the state’s single-use bag ban, which was supposed to go into effect on April 22, has been delayed until next January.

In recent years, eight states have banned the use of the single-use bags. They include Hawaii, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Oregon and New York and New Hampshire. Both New York and California are hot spots for the virus’ spread.

Since Sept. 15 in Anchorage, retailers no longer are allowed to provide plastic bags to shoppers​.

Instead, sellers are required to make paper bag available. By city ordinance, they are forced to charge for the paper bags at a minimum cost of 10 cents and a maximum cost of 50 cents. This fee was to prod shoppers into bringing their own bags from home.

Now, many are wondering if pathogens are hopping a ride on those bags, which go in and out of homes and stores.

The first four cases of community-spread coronavirus was announced by the State Department of Health and Social Services on Monday. The cases are in Anchorage.


  1. Plastic bag bans are falling, vegans are buying meat, anti-gun folks are buying guns, a virus started in Wuhan China is referred to as the Wuhan or Chinese virus because just like countless viruses of the past they are named after the geographical place they came from. The wokeness movement is facing reality and growing up, welcome to the world woke folk it has sharp edges and boundless rewards, welcome to the real world.

  2. Personally,
    I am mighty glad to see this.
    Recently I traveled down to civilization for a V.A. appointment and did some resupply shopping.
    While waiting in line at Fred Meyers checkout. A heavily tattood woman with dreadlocks was in line behind me. As the cashier was ringing up and bagging my groceries. She put her groceries on the belt along with 2 nasty looking bags, that looked they were kept in a chicken coop. As I was leaving the line. The cashier said to her, “Ma’am please put those dirty bags back in your cart, people put food on there”. I told the cashier “Thank you”!
    Take care, be safe
    God bless.

  3. It was a bad idea from the start. People forgetting their bags so either make another trip or buying less, more slips and falls on ice because of the way paper bags are carried, more wear and tear on shopping carts as we cannot carry more than two bags in our arms, more shopping carts in the parking lot so more dented cars, paper bags coming apart in rain, the heavier plastic bags that Walmart used to sell for ten cents are now “free” but we pay with higher food prices, all to solve an imaginary problem. All because some people don’t want to see a few bags hanging from some bushes. All just to make liberals feel good about themselves. All to make the “plastic island” in the Pacific go away even though it is made up of mostly fishing debris from other countries and I will guarantee contains NO bags from Wasilla.
    Remember “Save the Trees”? Then it was “Recycle!”. Well that’s not good enough anymore. Lesson learned….AGAIN: Liberals are never happy. Don’t even try to appease them.
    And by the way, with crime, terrible roads, and all our other problems the government can’t handle what makes you think it knows what’s best to carry our groceries in?

  4. The thousand plastic bags I bought to use for kitty litter “tailings” are the same as stores used to hand out free for convenience and sanitation. I’d best not let my address become known lest thieves once bent on stealing toilet paper turn to the far-more-valuable sanitary throw-away bags!

    • I purchased a thousand also.
      Guess how many times they get used ?
      Only once for the kitty rocca.
      Use to be that they were used twice when they were furnished free.

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