Vermont Directs Major Retailers to Halt In-Person Sale of ‘Nonessential’ Items

AP Photo/Ben Margot
AP Photo/Ben Margot

Vermont is directing major retailers in the state to refrain from conducting in-person sales of  “nonessential” items, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development announced this week.

Big-box retailers, including Walmart, Target, and Costco, should no longer conduct in-person sales of nonessential items, the ACCD announced this week, contending that it generates more traffic in stores and therefore increases the risk of spreading the virus.

“Large ‘big box’ retailers generate significant shopping traffic by virtue of their size and the variety of goods offered in a single location,” ACCD Secretary Lindsay Kurrle said.

Kurrle continued:

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 non-essential items.”

Citing Gov. Phil Scott’s (R) order, ACCD noted that groceries, beverages, pharmacies, and animal feed remain “essential” items.

As such, the ACCD guidance states that big-box retailers must “cease in-person sales of non-essential items not listed in the Executive Order, including, but not limited to: arts and crafts, beauty, carpet and flooring, clothing, consumer electronics, entertainment (books, music, movies), furniture, home and garden, jewelry, paint, photo services, sports equipment, toys and the like.”

Stores also 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.

Vermont currently has 389 coronavirus cases and 17 related deaths.

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