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Press Releases - County Council

Councilmember Jawando Introduces Legislation to Suspend Carryout Bag Tax During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 31, 2020--Today the Montgomery County Council introduced Bill 17-20, Carry Out Bag Tax - Suspension, which would suspend the imposition of the carryout bag tax until 15 days after the Maryland state of emergency caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic ends.

Councilmember Will Jawando is the lead sponsor of Bill 17-20. Councilmembers Craig Rice and Gabe Albornoz, Council President Sidney Katz and Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Nancy Navarro are cosponsors.

“COVID-19 has caused a myriad of issues in our community that affect residents from all walks of life. Suspending the carry-out bag tax during the COVID-19 pandemic allows store bags to be used at no charge to customers, which will hopefully minimize risk,” said Councilmember Jawando. “While the carryout bag tax does generate some revenue for the County, the health and safety of all Montgomery County residents must come first. COVID-19 represents a threat that has never been seen before and we must act accordingly.”

Some retail establishments, including some grocery stores, are currently prohibiting customers from using their personal reusable bags in stores. It is possible that more establishments will adopt the same policy soon. Handling reusable bags presents a potential public health risk to those employees who must bag items for customers, as well as to the customers themselves.

Bill 17-20 also would require the County Executive to notify retail establishments and the public of the date on which the imposition of the carryout bag tax will resume within seven days after the state of emergency ceases. A public hearing and Council action on this legislation is scheduled for April 14.

Councilmember Jawando’s remarks at the introduction of Bill 17-20 can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/2tYPtScOWJ0 .

The Council staff report can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/Bill1720Intro .

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Release ID: 20-121
Media Contact: Cecily Thorne 240-777-7811