BALTIMORE — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott signed an executive order to postpone the city's plastic bag ban implementation due to COVID-19.
The Comprehensive Bag Reduction ordinance, commonly known as Baltimore’s plastic bag ban, was originally supposed to begin on January 13, 2021, one week from today.
The Executive Order suspends the date of implementation for 6 months, making the new effective date July 9, 2021, with possibility of extension, at the discretion of the Mayor, for 30 days following the termination of Governor Hogan’s state of emergency.
The ban was introduced in 2019 by then-Councilman Bill Henry and cosponsored by then-Council President Scott.
It was signed into law in January 2020, prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a year-long enactment period.
The ordinance prohibits retailers from providing plastic bags at checkout that are less than 4 millimeters thick unless the bag is to contain certain products.
The ordinance also requires retailers to collect a 5-cent surcharge for any other bags provided at the point of sale, pickup, or delivery to carry purchased items, and imposes reporting and remittance requirements on retailers.
In a statement, Scott said:
“I am fully committed to making Baltimore a more sustainable and environmentally aware city, and enacting the plastic bag ban is one important step toward that goal,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “However, as we continue to face the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, it’s clear that we need more time to get the implementation of this ban right for our businesses and residents. Over the next 6 months, my administration will work hand-in-hand with our agencies to strengthen outreach to our retailers so they fully understand the impacts of this law and step up our efforts to provide reusable bags to Baltimoreans, all while we navigate this unprecedented pandemic. These changes will not happen overnight, and will not come easy as we continue to battle COVID-19. But I know that with the support of our businesses and residents, taking these small steps now will have a tremendous impact in the future.”