Plastic bag ban suspended in Boston

To protect the health of people while they shop during the COVID-19 pandemic, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh on Tuesday morning issued an executive order allowing plastic bag use in the city for retailers that qualify as essential businesses under a Gov. Charlie Baker executive order.

"During this challenging time, we understand the retail establishments our residents rely on -- like grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants -- need added flexibility to best serve their customers," said Walsh. "We are adjusting Boston's plastic bag ordinance to give establishments and residents the help they need during this time."

The order permits temporary exemptions from a city ordinance restricting plastic bag use in the city to protect the environment and reduce solid waste.

Essential businesses will be allowed to use plastic bags, and will be exempt from the requirement that they charge customers a fee for checkout bags. The order went into effect Tuesday and will remain in effect until the last day of the public health emergency declared by the Boston Public Health Commission.