Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro issued a statement on Facebook early Sunday asking residents not to bring reusable shopping bags to stores, saying they can sustain and help spread the coronavirus and flu viruses.

“The COVID-19 outbreak is giving new meaning to those ‘sustainable’ shopping bags that politicians and environmentalists have been so eager to impose on the public,” Isgro wrote in his Facebook post. “These reusable tote bags can sustain the COVID-19 and flu viruses — and spread the viruses throughout the store.”

Isgro referenced an opinion piece published in the New York Post that makes the claim about reusable shopping bags.

As of Sunday morning, the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention has recorded three presumptive positive tests and three preliminary presumptive positive tests under review.

Presumptive positive tests are those that Maine CDC has conducted or verified. The tests still need to be confirmed by the U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

Isgro said that at Monday’s first meeting of the city’s COVID-19 Task Force, he plans to ask the group to request that the City Council temporarily suspend the ordinance banning the use of plastic shopping bags and to encourage retailers to enforce a ban on reusable shopping bags.

“This should be seen as a temporary public safety measure,” Isgro wrote in his post.

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