Vermont's Agency of Commerce and Community Development has ordered all "big box" retailers in the state such as Walmart, Target, and Costco to stop the in-store selling of items the agency has determined to be "non-essential" as part of its effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
What are the details?
The state's directive requires that "large 'big box' retailers must":
- Restrict access to non-essential goods. Stores must close aisles, close portions of the store, or remove items from the floor.
- Only offer non-essential items via online portals, telephone, delivery, or curbside pickup, to the extent possible.
- Except in the event of emergencies threatening the health and welfare of a customer, showrooms and garden sections of large home improvement centers should be closed.
A spokesperson from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development told WCAX-TV that the restrictions are not new and were part of Gov. Phil Scott's (R) original "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order signed on March 24, which ordered all nonessential businesses to close. However, the news release about big box stores was sent out on March 31.
A post on a public Facebook group for citizens in communities in and around Bennington County urged people not to "panic" over the new order and posted photos from a local Walmart showing aisles and entire departments taped off with a notice to customers reading: "By order of the state of Vermont, items in this 'non-essential' area are not available for purchase."
While Vermont's order banning the in-person sales of "non-essential" items covers the entire state, municipalities across the country have issued comparable directives.
A similar crackdown has been imposed in Colorado's Summit County and in the city of Chicopee, Massachusetts.
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