Under the direction of Gov. Phil Scott, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) is directing large “big-box” retailers to cease in-person sales of non-essential items in order to reduce the number of people coming into the stores to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“Large ‘big box’ retailers generate significant shopping traffic by virtue of their size and the variety of goods offered in a single location,” says Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle. “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.”
The governor’s Executive Order says large “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.
The press release issued by the state specifically cites Walmart, Target and Costco, and would include stores like Best Buy, which had already announced the previous week it was switching to curbside pickup for its stores. 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.
The Agency has also issued a list of recommended best practices for retailers allowed to continue in-person operations.
The Governor’s Executive Order allows in-person business operations to continue at retail businesses for:
- Retail serving basic human needs such as grocery stores, pharmacies, other retail that sells food, beverage, animal feed and essential supplies, provided, these retail operations shall be conducted through on-line and telephone orders for delivery and curb-side pickup to the extent possible;
- Fuel products and supply;
- Hardware stores, provided, these retail operations shall be conducted through online and telephone orders for delivery and curb-side pickup to the extent possible;
- Transportation sector and agricultural sector equipment parts, repair and maintenance, provided these retail operations shall be conducted through on-line and telephone orders for delivery and curb-side pickup to the extent possible.