The State of Maine has developed a list of guidelines for Maine businesses to follow to prevent the spread of transmission of COVID, called 'COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance' to restart Maine's economy after a spring stoppage due to COVID-19.  This list has steps to take as retail business employees, customers, business owners that helps with operational guidelines to stay safely open for business while traversing the viral pandemic.

It is a working document, meaning it is updated as more information becomes available and clarification to safety standards evolve.

One of the items that has been up-in-the-air, and recently reviewed and changed, is whether customers can still use their reusable bags.

As of July 16th an update to the 'COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance' allows for the use of reusable bags, at the discretion of the store manager.

A document provided by the National Resources Council of Maine, called Health Expert Statement Addressing Safety of Reusables and COVID-19, shares the many experts that agree with science that disposable bags present similar issues to reusable ones but also that plastic bags can hold the virus longer than a fabric can.

There had been movement to reduce Maine's plastic bag waste by banning single-use plastic bags in the state, originally scheduled for this past Earth Day in April 2020 which has now been pushed back to January 15, 2021.

So, Maine, use those reusable bags if the stores you shop at allow it.  Just be sure to clean them after using them and you can help reduce plastic waste and still get your groceries home guilt-free.