In a notification to parties required to comply with the rules, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) acknowledges that the COVID-19 crisis is impacting grocery and other food service retailer operations and may temporarily affect compliance with requirements. Stated SPU in the notification, “Our policies remain in place, however the City has temporarily suspended enforcement, including the requirement that retailers collect a 5-cent, pass-through charge on paper bags, to help keep essential workers safe during the crisis.”
SPU offers the following guidance to establishments that are covered under the rules:
- If available, compliant bags should be used.
- If noncompliant bags are substituted on a temporary basis because of a lack of supply, we encourage posting simple signage informing the customer that the change is temporary. Care should be taken to not overstock noncompliant bags that are only needed on a temporary basis.
- Retailers may use their own discretion regarding the use of reusable bags by customers.
- Retailers should return to using compliant bags and packaging as soon as possible.
- Grocers should not use green-tinted, noncompostable plastic bags, as required by the ordinance. It is very important that we not pollute our compost system due to customer confusion about compostable and noncompostable bags.
The guidance for Food Service Packaging and Products is similar, e.g, if available, compliant packaging should be used; if noncompliant packaging is substituted on a temporary basis because of a lack of supply, post simple signage informing the customer that the change is temporary.