City of Cambridge’s Temporary Emergency Order Preventing the Use of Reusable Bags at Retail Establishments Remains in Effect

Cambridge, MA July 14, 2020 – The City of Cambridge announced today that the temporary emergency order restricting customers at retail establishments from using reusable bags after purchasing retail products remains in effect until further notice.  

While the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Commissioner of Public Health rescinded the state’s reusable bag prohibition on July 10, neither staff at Cambridge retail establishments nor their customers are permitted to bag retail products using customers’ reusable bags at checkout. There will continue to be no fees associated with retail establishment bags.  

This temporary emergency order, which was originally adopted on March 23, 2020, was one of the early proactive steps that the City of Cambridge took to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect retail staff and consumers. Reusable checkout bags that have not been sufficiently disinfected may potentially contribute to the spread of COVID-19 at retail establishments.  

Cambridge is deeply committed to recycling items whenever possible, however, at this time, the city believes its ban on the use of reusable bags at retail establishments is an important step to continue minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. 
View the full emergency March 23, 2020 declaration.

The city is committed to identifying new resources to help residents and businesses navigate this difficult time. For more information and to sign up to receive updates on COVID-19, please visit the city’s dedicated information page: