- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2020

LOGAN, Utah (AP) - Restrictions aimed at reducing the use of single-use plastic bags have been put on hold in northern Utah during the coronavirus pandemic, but officials close to the issue said the efforts will not be forgotten.

In response to COVID-19, some stores have banned reusable bags as part of their safety measures because they are believed to pose more of a risk in spreading the virus than plastic bags, The Herald Journal reported.

“The very thing that we were promoting as a big part of the solution is now banned,” said Richmond Mayor Jeff Young, who has extensively reviewed the bag issue as Cache County Solid Waste Advisory Board chairman. “I actually think that we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and re-discuss stuff that we now know that we didn’t know a few months ago when we were discussing this.”

The board drafted a plan last year to work with retailers and residents to reduce lightweight, single-use plastic bags, which have contributed to pollution concerns worldwide. The plan included a public-education program and working with retailers to formulate their own reduction measures and policies.

The Logan Municipal Council then passed a ban on plastic bags to speed up the board’s plan. The ban was scheduled to take effect in April if the board failed to act before then, but it was reversed earlier this year.

“The board met, and they kind of let me know they weren’t happy with our council’s action, and I said let me go back to council and see what they would consider,” Logan Mayor Holly Daines said. “We just felt like we really jumped the gun.”

All groups were ready to reconsider the ban, but the coronavirus pandemic put everything on hold.

“During the middle of a pandemic, when we are just now trying to figure out how to help businesses to stay in business, it is not the time to have that as something we’re trying to bring to them also,” Young said.

“We hope to resume the discussion at some time. Can I tell you when that would be? No,” Daines said.

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