On July 1, Connecticut is set to begin charging customers for each single-use plastic bag again.
Back in March, Gov. Lamont issued an executive order that stated the following: The provisions of Executive Order No. 7N, Section 4, suspending the tax on single-use plastic checkout bags, and Section 5, providing that retail employees shall not be required to bag items in reusable bags but that customers must be allowed to use their own reusable bags if they bag their own items, are extended through June 30, 2020.
The reason behind the decision was to help mitigate the spread of the virus and encourage shoppers to thoroughly clean their reusable bags.
The decision did put a halt on the state generating revenue from the plastic bag tax and comes at a time when the state faces a $2.3 billion budget deficit, according to Lamont.
"Retailers are responsible for collecting the 10-cent fee per bag from their consumers and then remitting it into the state of Connecticut," said John Biello, acting commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Revenue Services. "We're losing an estimated $2-300,000 on the plastic bag fee over the time in which it was suspended; so, very minimal when you think about the safety and health concerns that were at the forefront."
Shoppers like Ann Concatelli are a little leary about reimplementing the single-use plastic bag tax.
"They should continue giving us the bags with no fee until we get everything under control," said Concatelli. "If they want to let us bring in the reusable bags, fine, but there is a change that the virus could spread."
"We're not going to use plastic bags in our store," said Chris Romeo, vice president at Westside Market in Rocky Hill. "We are encouraging our shoppers to get in the habit of washing and sanitizing their reusable bags to help mitigate the potential spread of any germs."
The tax will affect takeout orders at restaurants on July 1, too.
The CT Food Association issued this statement about plastic bags:
"Prior to Coronavirus eight out of ten CT consumers were utilizing single-use bags. With the onset of the pandemic, many of them had safety concerns. The CDC and CT Health Department has determined there is no health risk to consumers who choose to bring their own bags. We strongly encourage customers to sanitize bags after using them to store them in a dry space. It will take some time to readjust to the concept of bringing your own bag, however from an environmental standpoint, this is still sound policy."