Turns out preventing the spread of a deadly virus is more important than reusable grocery bags to save the planet.
San Francisco has done a complete 180 on its policy that only reusable shopping bags can be used in stores.
Because the COVID-19 virus can live various surfaces anywhere from a few hours up to several days, San Francisco has determined that reusable shopping bags can actually endanger the people who use them.
The city released an order banning any reusable container at stores as a sanitary measure.
The updated order includes: "Not permitting customers to bring their own bags, mugs, or other reusable items from home."
More details on this order below:
In 2007, San Francisco completely banned plastic bags from grocery stores.
People had to bring reusable bags or even recyclable paper bags to be able to bring their groceries home.
Now, any type of reusable tote has been banned to keep citizens safe.
The West Coast is famously a green coast, with initiatives that prioritize reducing plastic and increasing reliance on electric vehicles and solar energy.
The Hill has more details on San Francisco's complete 180 turn:
San Francisco is banning reusable shopping bags to prevent outside germs from entering grocery stores as the coronavirus pandemic affects cities around the country,
The new ordinance from the San Francisco Department of Public Health aims to reinforce existing social distancing protocols by restricting customers from bringing their own bags, mugs, or other reusable items to essential stores, according to a statement.
San Francisco was one of the first cities in the U.S. to ban the use of plastic shopping bags in 2007 to reduce the environmental impact caused by plastic waste, according to SFGate.com.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) on Wednesday extended stay-at-home orders for the public, running until May 3.
"I can't reiterate enough how important it is for all of us to continue to comply, for all of us to continue to be good citizens, to cooperate," Breed said.
So far, there haven't been any widespread complaints from climate activists including Greta Thunberg.
However, Democrat leaders across the nation having been using the COVID-19 pandemic to attempt to pass partisan policies.
See a few examples of Pelosi's stimulus pork below:
While San Francisco is banning the use of reusable bags, it is being claimed that COVID-19 can live on surfaces up to 72 hours... including on plastic bags!
Many have accused the sudden 180 to be fear-based.
Grocery store clerks would still handle plastic bags and the items being purchased, which means there would be just as many touchpoints and risk factors.
The Napa Valley Register has more on the scientific research... or lack thereof... behind the decision made by San Francisco:
Reusable grocery bags have been a staple of life for more than a decade, with environmental groups, cities and voters across California and other states supporting bans on single-use plastic bags to reduce huge amounts of plastic pollution increasingly turning up in rivers, streams and oceans.
But in recent days, as part of expanded efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, health officials in Bay Area counties, along with Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, have prohibited grocery stores from allowing customers to bring their own bags when they go shopping.
"The thinking with the reusable bags is that when they are handled by different people and moved among different environments, it's possible they could be a carrier of the virus," said Preston Merchant, a spokesman for the San Mateo County health department. "It does attach to surfaces. Moving towards non-reusable bags means fewer people will have touched them."
It's a position supported by many grocery workers.
But the science is still unclear, however. No studies have been published showing coronavirus is spread through reusable shopping bags.
"To be honest, there is no scientific evidence," said Dr. Rodrigo Hasbun, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Texas. "It is fear-based. And because we're not sure, everyone is taking precautions."
The virus can spread on many types of surfaces, including plastic, he noted, if an infected person touches something, or coughs or sneezes on it -- whether it's a shopping cart handle, a paper or plastic bag, a product on the shelf or a reusable bag.
A study published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the virus can survive up to 72 hours on stainless steel and plastic surfaces and on cardboard up to 24 hours. Reusable grocery bags are made of different materials, including woven polypropylene plastic, cotton and other cloth.
"So far, evidence suggests that the virus does not survive as well on a soft surface (such as fabric) as it does on frequently touched hard surfaces like elevator buttons and door handles," wrote Dr. Lisa Lockerd Maragakis, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, in a recent article.
She noted that the 72-hour life of the virus on plastic has received a lot of attention, but the scientists who made that discovery found that by 72 hours less than 0.1% of the starting virus material remains, meaning infection is unlikely.
The state of California and the Bay Area in particular have some of of the strictest social distancing measures in the country.
Despite the fact that California is commonly seen as the leader of the green movement, water bottles have flown off store shelves.
Coffee chains such as Starbucks have refused to refill personal mugs and are opting for throwaway paper cups instead.
It has been said that COVID-19 will have long term ramifications on life in America.
Will the long-term banning of reusable shopping bags in San Francisco be one of them?