Ban on plastic bags in Cuyahoga County pushed back

CLEVELAND – In 2019, a ban on plastic bags was passed and was due to go into effect in 2020, then 2022, but was postponed due to the pandemic. Grocery stores in the area can’t see how this would be possible any time soon.

At Gallucci’s, you’ll find your regular lunchtime customers arriving and the employees checking them out, but what you don’t see are the struggles they’ve faced behind the scenes.

“We are now entering our third year of fighting the COVID pandemic and things have never been worse,” said Galluci vice president Marc R. Kotora.

The impacts of the pandemic on Galluci and other stories are numerous.

“The actual situation we face when trying to operate a business in this environment is extremely difficult,” Kotora said. “And that’s coming from the staff, from dealing with the effects of the virus… there are so many other things. Oh, yeah, but supply chain issues are a big part of it as well. “

Banning plastic bags is something they don’t want to add to their problems.

“I don’t really know if paper is the best bag to use in the food industry because so much can leak. And it’s just that it’s going to be hard for us to get, ”Kotora said.

Cuyahoga County City Councilor Sunny Simon helped pass the ordinance in an environmentally friendly manner.

“We know Lake Erie is the second most plastic polluted lake in the Great Lakes,” said Simon.

Of course, Simon has seen the impact COVID has had over the past two years.

“Sadly, we’re not going to lock up anyone who couldn’t have predicted this pandemic,” Simon said, leading them to postpone their ban to 2020 and again to 2022.

“So now we have to come up with a slower rollout for 2022 and start looking for a date for the ban to be enforced,” Simon said.

But for Gallucci, this is not enough.

“Omicron kind of came out of the woods like that and became this huge spike that you see numbers at the highest level they’ve ever been, and so even though there’s no end in sight, they are going to say, “Oh, we’re going to give you six months.” Well, what’s the next twist in six months? Kotora said.

While City Councilor Simon says they expect to put the plan in place later in the year, but are ready to pivot at any time.

“I can’t predict what’s going to happen with this virus, but assuming it clears up, then we’ll go ahead. If something explodes, we have to be flexible, ”said Simon.

The council has not yet decided on a new tentative date for the application of the ban.

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Bryce K. Locke