Walmart, Target, and Costco were ordered on Tuesday to halt the sale of “non-essential” products in their brick-and-mortar locations to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus, according to a state government agency, The Epoch Times reports.
The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development said Tuesday that the three chains, as well as other “big box” stores, need to “cease in-person sales of non-essential items in order to reduce the number of people coming into the stores” amid the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus pandemic.
“Large ‘big box’ retailers generate significant shopping traffic by virtue of their size and the variety of goods offered in a single location,” said agency Secretary Lindsay Kurrle in a statement. “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.”
Kurrle said the move will allow the state to put “public health first” and reduce the number of people in stores.
The order excluded retailers “serving basic human needs” such as grocery stores and pharmacies, recommending only that they conduct business online and through curbside pickup “to the extent possible.”
“Items considered nonessential by the state include arts and crafts, beauty supplies, carpet and flooring, clothing, consumer electronics, books, music, movies, furniture, home and garden items, jewelry, paint, photo services, toys, and sports equipment,” according to KAKE.
The stores now have to “restrict access to non-essential goods,” and “stores must close aisles, close portions of the store, or remove items from the floor,” according to the agency. “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,” it says.