Cambridge City Manager and Commissioner of Public Health Amend Temporary Emergency Order Preventing the Use of Reusable Bags at Retail Establishments

Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale and Commissioner of Public Health Assaad J. Sayah, MD announced today amendments to the March 23, 2020 temporary emergency order that restricted customers at retail establishments from using reusable bags after purchasing retail products because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the amended order, customers are permitted, effective on Saturday, July 25, to bring reusable bags to retail establishments for use at checkout. Until August 10, retail establishments are prohibited from charging the required fee of 10 cents for each recyclable paper bag or compostable plastic bags provided by the retail establishment.

Beginning, August 10, the city’s mandatory 10 cent fee for recyclable paper bags or compostable plastic bags provided to the customer at the point of sale, and all provisions of Cambridge’s “Bring Your Own Bag” ordinance will be in effect. The city’s ban on single use plastic bags has always remained in place.

“The City of Cambridge takes deliberate and measured steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, protect our community, and reopen the city in a controlled manner,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “The Cambridge community cares deeply about recycling whenever possible and I am pleased to see reusable checkout bags returning to our retail environment. As a city, we move cautiously in our public health decisions and utilize our Expert Advisory Committee to understand the potential impacts on new or modified public health measures and guidance. The community’s compliance with these measures have made a difference in Cambridge, and we will continue to use data and expert advice to inform our strategies to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Our goal is to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents.”

The city encourages consumers to frequently wash, sanitize, or disinfect their reusable bags. Additionally, the city recommends that employees placing items in reusable checkout bags for customers wear disposable gloves as an additional safety measure. All retail establishments are required to comply with the Commonwealth’s Sector Specific Workplace Safety Standards. 

View the full emergency declaration.

The City of Cambridge and the City’s Public Health Department continue to work closely together to identify resources to reinforce the city’s response and preparedness activities. For more information and updates on COVID-19, please visit the city’s dedicated information page: https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19.
Page was posted on 7/23/2020 4:47 PM
Page was last modified on 7/23/2020 7:12 PM
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