Idea of suspending bag tax in Montgomery County gets scrubbed

A proposal to suspend the 5-cent tax on plastic and paper bags in Maryland’s Montgomery County as a way to curb the spread of coronavirus is getting nixed by the the county council member who proposed it.

A couple of weeks ago Council member Will Jawando suggested suspending the tax. The tax is paid on every bag that stores give to customers.

The proposal originally stemmed from health concerns related to reusable shopping bags that may not be clean.

But Jawando said in a statement that after discussions with environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, as well as members of local grocery unions, he no longer thinks suspending the tax is the best idea. Revenue from the tax helps the county with litter cleanup costs.

Instead, to cut down on the odds that grocery workers will deal with contamination from dirty, reusable bags, you should bag your own groceries at the store.

Additionally, Montgomery County Health Director Dr. Travis Gayles said you should wash those reusable bags after every trip to the store.

Grocery stores, meanwhile, will be encouraged to frequently clean and disinfect bagging areas.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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