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Hy-Vee has banned customers from bringing reusable bags to the store in part because of requests from customers worried the bags could spread the coronavirus, Hy-Vee spokeswoman Christina Gayman told Grocery Dive. The company has been taking steps to help keep employees and shoppers safe and took the feedback from its customers into account in deciding to disallow use of the bags, she said in an interview. “Many customers have requested us not to allow them at this time,” Gayman said. “We’re doing our very best to protect all of our customers and employees, [so] this is the direction we decided to go in.”
New Hampshire’s governor on Saturday issued an emergency order that directs retailers to use single-use plastic or paper bags until the outbreak ends. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Food Administration has asked the state to suspend local ordinances prohibiting plastic bag use.
The Food Industry Association (FMI) says that while it is unclear if reusable bags can transmit the coronavirus, “reusable bags and totes can become unsanitary and a vehicle for cross-contamination if not properly cared for. Many of these bags are not designed with food safety in mind and can be a challenge to clean appropriately.”