Walsh permits plastic bag use at essential Boston businesses during coronavirus outbreak

BOSTON (WHDH) - Mayor Martin J. Walsh is temporarily allowing the use of plastic bags in Boston for essential businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Walsh announced the executive order Wednesday, which granted an exemption to the city’s plastic bag ordinance to protect residents as they shop for essential needs.

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The exemption applies to all retail establishments that qualify as essential, such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

Those businesses will not be required to 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,” Walsh said. “We are adjusting Boston’s plastic bag ordinance to give establishments and residents the help they need during this time.”

This executive order remains in effect until the last day of the public health emergency declared by the Boston Public Health Commissions.

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