Minneapolis Not Enforcing Plastic Bag Fee Through At Least July 1, 2020

Yesterday I wrote about how the City of San Francisco has not only revered their ban on single-use plastic bags to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus, but they have also banned the use of reusable bags due to concerns that these bags may be less sanitary than single-use plastic bags. Locally, it appears that the City of Minneapolis is suspending enforcement of a mandatory 5 cent bag fee until at least July 1, 2020.

This information was obtained via an email request, and you can read the entire response below:

“Effective January 1, 2020 retail establishments are required to charge a fee of at least 5 cents for carryout bags. The fee is non-taxable and is kept by the establishment. No enforcement action will be taken against businesses not in compliance until at least July 1, 2020. The City will do extensive outreach with businesses and work on educating with no fines for the first six months.”

It is encouraging that Minneapolis will not be enforcing the mandatory fee on carryout bags for at least the first half of the year. However, this response makes it seem like the fines were not going to be enforced during the first six months of the year regardless of the Coronavirus. This could present a bad situation for businesses if the virus comes back this fall and the City decides to enforce the bag fee.

Hopefully it won’t come to that, and the City will see that discouraging the use of the most sanitary bags is not a good idea. Maybe they’ll suspend the enforcement of the fee indefinitely, or perhaps even repeal the ordinance requiring the fee to be collected in the first place. This would be good public policy, as the Coronavirus has shown that many “feel good” environmental gestures actually make the environment less safe for people.