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Here are the policies local grocery stores have implemented when it comes to reusable shopping bags

Due to the uncertainty & out of an abundance of caution, grocery store chains are making their own policies when it comes to reusable shopping bags of all types.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — The coronavirus pandemic continues to alter the everyday norms of most Americans. Now, reusable shopping bags are in the spotlight as studies look to determine just how long COVID-19 can survive on the surfaces of some objects.

Due to the uncertainty and out of an abundance of caution, local grocery store chains are making their policies when it comes to reusable shopping bags of all types.

The city of San Francisco passed an order banning customers from bringing their own "bags, mugs, or other reusable items from home." While Sacramento and other cities and counties in Northern California haven't taken that step yet, here are some of the policies stores are implementing:

Raley's

Customers may bring their reusable bags into stores, but they will have to bag their groceries. On its website, Raley's writes, "We are not permitting our team members to handle any reusable bags."

Safeway

Will be updated once company policy is released. 

Whole Foods

Whole Foods is no longer allowing customers to bring in any personal, reusable containers during the pandemic. The store has also cut hours to provide employees more time to restock and sanitize.

Walmart

Walmart stores are allowing customers to use their reusable bags. A spokesperson for Walmart said if the state or local government dictates a policy over the use of reusable bags, they will comply, but for now, that has not happened everywhere.

"At this time, Walmart has not changed its policy on reusable bags," a spokesperson for Walmart said.

Target

Target is not banning reusable bags, but they are waiving bag fees to encourage the use of single-use store bags. On its website, Target writes, "Effective March 26, and until further notice, Target stores will stop handling guest-supplied reusable bags out of an abundance of caution. Our team members are bagging items in a Target-supplied paper or plastic bag, and we're waiving any local bag fees. If a guest brings in a reusable bag, they can choose to bag their items themselves."

Nugget Market

Nugget has implemented some of the most aggressive policies to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in its stores. On its website, regarding reusable bags, the new policy states, "To help protect our guests and associates, for the time being, we are only using single-use bags (or brand new reusable bags purchased during the transaction) when bagging groceries at checkout."

Grocery Outlet

Will be updated once company policy is released. 

Sprouts

Will be updated once company policy is released. 

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's has taken aggressive steps to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in its stores, including suspending the use of reusable bags. Customers can use in-store paper bags free of charge.

Read more about coronavirus from ABC10

Coronavirus background

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Currently, there is no vaccine. However, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.

The CDC also says facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of the virus. If you're not sick, you do not have to wear a facemask. The CDC says the immediate risk to the U.S. public is low.

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