HOMER CITY COUNCIL LEADS THE WAY, LIFTS THE BAG BAN
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.