WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Plastic bags make a comeback in some stores temporarily as the state delays enforcement of a ban on them.
A statewide ban on plastic bags went into effect on March 1, but recently the state Department of Environmental Conservation said it's now delaying enforcement of it until May 15.
It's sort of, but not directly, related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
It's because of a legal challenge pending in state supreme court.. that's been pushed back. A DEC spokesperson says courts are prioritizing cases right now because of the outbreak.
With the delay of enforcement, some stores like Price Chopper are turning back to plastic bags.
"We've ordered plastic bags at this point and we plan to temporarily phase them back into our 80 plus New York stores shortly," said Mona Golub, vice president of public relations and consumer and marketing services.
Price Chopper is making the return for a few reasons. The switch to reusable bags is still in the transitional phase.
Paper bags, like many paper products right now, are less available and a spokesperson says people are more comfortable with plastic than the reusable bags amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
"As we actively engage in various conversations with customers, it's become clear that some of them have a higher comfort level right now with disposable bags in this time of elevated sanitation protocols," said Golub.
Tops says it also is temporarily not enforcing the plastic bag ban in order to help with sanitation concerns surrounding reusable bags and COVID-19.
Walmart is using plastic bags in some of its stores, too.
But others, like Stewart's Shops and Kinney Drugs, say they won't bring plastic back. Kinney Drugs has already moved its orange plastic bag inventory to Vermont.
And although the drug store isn’t using the plastic bags, it donated 60,000 of them to St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES to use to deliver meals to children, while they aren’t in school.