BURLINGTON - Businesses in Burlington will have until Sept. 20 to utilize the plastic bags they were forced to use during the height of the COVID-19 concerns in Massachusetts.

The state rescinded its order from March 25 that prohibited the use of reusable bags, allowing cities and towns that had banned single-use plastic bags to use them again during the pandemic.

The March 25 order came from state Department of Public Health Commission Monica Bharel, prohibiting the use of reusable shopping bags in grocery stores, pharmacies and food programs until further notice, which overturned local ordinances banning single-use plastic bags for a short time. Burlington is one of the state’s 139 communities that banned single-use plastic bags before the pandemic.

The temporary reusable bag ban order was rescinded on July 10. The cancellation also eliminates occupancy limits for grocery stores.

The Burlington Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a 60-day extension for select businesses to continue to use plastic bags until Sept. 20.

Town Administrator Paul Sagarino disclosed that several residents recently expressed concern over using reusable bags again, citing fears revolving around spreading COVID-19, so that played a role in town officials extending the use of plastic bags until Sept. 20.

“The CDC says reusable bag use is not enough of a threat to spread at this point, but we want to allow businesses an opportunity to use up their plastic bag supply throughout September,” avowed Sagarino.

The selectmen firmly supported the proposal.

“I think we should do everything we can to help businesses out,” said Selectman Chair Joseph Morandi. “I believe we are doing that by extending the use of plastic bags until Sept. 20.”

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