Some Walmart, Costco, and Target Stores Are Barred From Selling Non-Essential Items

Isabel Garcia
Photo credit: John Greim - Getty Images

From House Beautiful

To help reduce foot traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic, some local governments have ordered Walmart, Target, Costco, and other big-box retailers to stop selling non-essential items in stores.

Last week, Vermont's Agency of Commerce and Community Development directed big-box retailers to stop in-store sales of non-essential items, some of which include arts and crafts, beauty, clothing, consumer electronics, entertainment (books, music, movies), carpet and flooring, furniture, home and garden, jewelry, paint, photo services, sports equipment, and toys. To enforce the order, stores must restrict access to non-essentials by closing aisles or removing the items from the floor. According to the press release, customers can purchase non-essential items online, by phone, or through curbside pickup.

“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."

In March, the Board of Commissioners in Howard County, Indiana also prohibited retailers in the area from selling non-essential items, Business Insider reports. According to the statement, the board adopted the ordinance because businesses that were deemed non-essential complained that retailers selling both essential and non-essential items were allowed to remain open and sell non-essential items. There were also complaints from store employees who claimed that customers were coming to the stores because they were bored, only buying nonessential items and creating longer lines.

Business Insider found reports that Summit County, Colorado and Springfield, Montana have also restricted retailers from selling non-essentials.

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