Vermont orders ‘big box’ retailers to stop sales of items the state deems ‘non-essential’ in their stores

Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development has ordered all “big box” retailers in the state such as Walmart, Target, and Costco to stop the in-store selling of items the agency has determined to be “non-essential” as part of its effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

What are the details?

The state’s directive requires that “large ‘big box’ retailers 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.
WCVB-TV reported that “according to the state, large retailers must cease in-person sales of items that include, but are not limited to: Arts and crafts, beauty supplies, carpet and flooring, clothing, consumer electronics, entertainment (books, music, movies), furniture, home and garden, jewelry, paint, photo services, sports equipment,” and toys.

A spokesperson from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development told WCAX-TV that the restrictions are not new, and were part of Gov. Phil Scott’s (R) original “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order signed on March 24, which ordered all non-essential businesses to close. However, the press release about big box stores was sent out on March 31.

A post on a public Facebook group for citizens in communities in and around Bennington County urged people not to “panic” over the new order, and posted photos from a local Walmart showing aisles and entire departments taped off with a notice to customers reading: “By order of the state of Vermont, items in this ‘non-essential’ area are not available for purchase.”

Anything else?

While Vermont’s order banning the in-person sales of “non-essential” items covers the entire state, municipalities across the country have issued comparable directives.

A similar crackdown has been imposed in Colorado’s Summit County, and in the city of Chicopee, Massachusetts.

[embedded content] ‘Non-essential’ businesses selling essential items attempt to stay open

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