Ohio grocery stores relying on plexiglass and plastic bags to limit contact with shoppers

Will the plastic bag ban go away?

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Some local grocery stores are changing how they operate to deal with coronavirus.

Most stores are discouraging shoppers from using reusable bags, despite Cuyahoga County Council passing a plastic bag ban back in December.

Plastic is the preferred method to keep germs out of most stores. It’s just a handful of changes seen recently at chains, like Giant Eagle.

James Weatherspoon was at the store Thursday. He said “if somebody’s around you with a canvas bag, maybe instead of six feet give them 8.”

Councilwoman Sunny Simon is behind the ban, which passed in December, to help cut down on pollution. She said, “given the circumstances of the unprecedented situation, we’re now in support of retailers’ decision of putting a temporary pause on allowing customers to bring in their reusable bags. They’re just taking every precaution.”

The ban’s enforcement was already extended to July so stores could transition. Now, they’ll reassess in June and see if that deadline needs to be extended further.

“Our bring-your-own bag program was going really well and strong before the pandemic hit,” said Simon. “I think after this is over we’ll be able to recommit to what we were doing with the program.

Until then, plastic is preferred.

One shopper said of the reusable bags, “they could be contaminated. It’s a smart move.”

Shoppers have also noticed other changes at stores like Giant Eagle. Brendan Boland said things were different when he went into the store to shop for his five children, now home from college and high school. “Some plexiglass is up by the register and there’s a pink line keeping you back six feet. They’re being very pro-active trying to keep it safe as safe as they can do.”

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