The Montgomery County Council introduced legislation to suspend the “carryout bag tax,” until the end of the COVID-19 health crisis.
Grocery stores and other establishments are currently prohibiting customers from bringing and using their own reusable bags in stores, due to health concerns for workers. This bill allows residents to use plastic, disposable bags provided at grocery and other retails stores at no cost, according to a press release from the county council.
The legislation, sponsored by Councilmember Will Jawando and cosponsored by Councilmembers Craig Rice and Gabe Albornoz, Council President Sidney Katz and Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Nancy Navarro, temporarily ends the tax on the plastic, disposable bags often provided by grocery stores.
The suspension of the tax would be in place until 15 days after the Maryland COVID-19 state of emergency ends, and the bill requires that businesses be notified on which date the tax will resume.
“COVID-19 has caused a myriad of issues in our community that affect residents from all walks of life. Suspending the carry-out bag tax during the COVID-19 pandemic allows store bags to be used at no charge to customers, which will hopefully minimize risk,” Councilmember Jawando said in remarks at the introduction of the bill. “While the carryout bag tax does generate some revenue for the County, the health and safety of all Montgomery County residents must come first.”
A public hearing and a Council vote on this legislation is set to take place on April 14.