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Plastic Bag Taxes Transmit Disease at Grocery Stores

(The American Conservative) The COVID-19 pandemic is spurring restrictions and lockdowns across the nation. But one Washington area government showcases the shams behind some of the political rescue efforts.  

“Loco MoCo” is the nickname for Montgomery County, Maryland—one of the most zealous liberal jurisdictions in the nation. Unfortunately, the county of a million people is also a pandemic hotspot, with 2,868 cases and 110 deaths as of Wednesday

Until last month, federal health officials vigorously discouraged average citizens from wearing facemasks to curtail COVID. Surgeon General Jerome Adams even warned that wearing a mask could increase people’s chances of becoming infected. But almost overnight, wearing masks went from a dangerous indulgence to a legally commanded performance.

On April 9, Montgomery County’s chief health officer, Travis Gayles, decreed that any grocery store customer who failed to wear a mask would be fined $500

Hundreds of grocery workers nationwide have been infected by the coronavirus and at least 30 have died. One of the biggest sources of contagions in grocery stores is ratty old recycling bags that customers drag along to tote their purchases home…

Dirty grocery tote bags put grocery workers in peril, and a Chicago union called for an “end to the disease-transmitting bag tax.” The evidence on the peril of reusable bags was so strong that San Francisco, the Valhalla for American leftists, banned customers from bringing their reusable bags to stores, and many other localities and states suspended their bag taxes or banned the use of reusable bags.  

LoCo MoCo, which imposed a tax on plastic grocery bags in 2011, momentarily lurched in the direction of sane health policy. Councilmember Will Jawando, a former Obama administration official, crafted a bill to suspend the grocery bag tax…

But the Sierra Club and other environmental groups vehemently objected…

The County Council quickly capitulated to the environmentalist backlash. Instead, they offered a farcical Solomonic solution—at least as far as sawing off a chunk of grocery workers’ life expectancy. The bag tax was sustained but, as Jawando announced in a press release, chief health officer Gayles will encourage people to wash reusable bags after each visit to the grocery store

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