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Press Releases - County Council

Department of Environmental Protection and Councilmember Will Jawando inform community on Covid-19 preventable measures for cleaning and disinfecting reusable bags

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 19, 2020—The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection along with Councilmember Will Jawando have issued guidance for the community to clean and disinfect reusable bags prior to bringing them for use at grocery stores. The fact sheet offers three easy steps to clean and disinfect plastic and nylon bags and two easy steps to clean cloth bags.

Since the start of the pandemic, grocery stores and other stores that have remained open have taken many precautionary measures to protect their customers and employees. Although some have banned the use of reusable bags, those stores that do allow reusable bags have asked customers to bag their own groceries.

“All of us are looking to maintain social distancing, but front-line workers need even greater protections from the possibility of virus transmission during incidental contact, like when at grocery check-out,” said Councilmember Jawando. “The County’s guidance is one way we can work together to protect people working in essential retail while preserving our preferred environmental practice of using reusable bags.”

Research shows the novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours or days on a variety of surface, however fabrics have not been tested. To be cautious, we recommend cleaning and/or disinfecting your reusable bags according to CDC guidelines.

“We are proud that in Montgomery County, most of our residents now use reusable bags as part of their regular shopping routine,” said Department of Environmental Protection Director Adam Ortiz. “We hope people will continue using their reusable bags and take the precautionary steps to disinfect their bags to protect themselves, their families, and retail workers while also protecting our environment.”

Following these guidelines will protect the community and grocery and food store workers from the spread of Covid-19.

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Release ID: 20-225
Media Contact: Cindy Peña 202-875-1563