a plastic bag is caught on tall grasses in fieldOn July 10, Gov. Charlie Baker rescinded an executive order he issued in March that had temporarily suspended both the use of reusable bags in stores and local bans on single-use plastic bags in place in 139 cities and towns.

Consumers can now resume bringing reusable bags into stores and restaurants, and municipalities with local plastic bag bans can once again enforce those measures. While the governor’s action took effect right away, however, many communities are likely to phase in enforcement of their bans in order to give local retailers and consumers time to adjust. For example, Newton will begin enforcement on Sept. 1, and Boston and Brookline will wait until Oct. 1.

When the governor issued his suspension order in March, less information was available about the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus through handling objects. Health experts now say that reusable bags and other products are not verified sources of virus transmission.

Environmental advocates applauded the change.

“Our environment should not become more polluted as a result of the pandemic,” said Sen. Jamie Eldridge, sponsor of a statewide plastic bag ban bill. “I’m eager to see more communities now pass their own ban, as momentum continues to build for passing the statewide ban legislation.”

The MMA supports legislation that would impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in stores and restaurants without preempting local rules. The Senate passed such a bill last November. A different bill is pending in the House.

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