Vermont prohibits in-person sales of nonessential items at big-box retailers

Coronavirus
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WJW) — Big-box retailers in Vermont will no longer be selling nonessential items in effort to limit the number of shoppers in the stores during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development announced on Tuesday that it has ordered big-box retailers like Walmart, Target and Costco to limit in-person sales to essential items only. These items include food, beverages and medicine.

The order lists clothing, toys, craft supplies, electronics, gardening supplies and sports equipment as nonessential and off-limits to in-store customers.

The agency says this decision was made to decrease the volume of shopping traffic and hopefully reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“Large ‘big box’ retailers generate significant shopping traffic by virtue of their size and the variety of goods offered in a single location,” Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle said in a press release.  “This volume of shopping traffic significantly increases the risk of further spread of this dangerous virus to Vermonters and the viability of Vermont’s health care system. We are directing these stores to put public health first and help us reduce the number of shoppers by requiring on-line ordering, delivery and curbside pickup whenever possible, and by stopping the sale of nonessential items.”

Stores are ordered to restrict access to nonessential items by closing off aisles where they are kept or removing them from the shelves.

The order also states that retailers can continue to sell nonessential items online or through curbside pickup services.

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