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San Francisco bans reusable bags in coronavirus fight

San Francisco is banning reusable shopping bags to prevent outside germs from entering grocery stores as the coronavirus pandemic affects cities around the country,

The new ordinance from the San Francisco Department of Public Health aims to reinforce existing social distancing protocols by restricting customers from bringing their own bags, mugs, or other reusable items to essential stores, according to a statement.

San Francisco was one of the first cities in the U.S. to ban the use of plastic shopping bags in 2007 to reduce the environmental impact caused by plastic waste, according to SFGate.com. 

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) on Wednesday extended stay-at-home orders for the public, running until May 3.

"I can't reiterate enough how important it is for all of us to continue to comply, for all of us to continue to be good citizens, to cooperate," Breed said.

The health department added additional protocols to enhance worker safety, such as requiring no less than 6 feet of distance between working essential employees, limiting building capacities and requiring that hand sanitizer be provided to workers. 

The city is one of the most impacted by the coronavirus in the state of California, with a total of 434 cases of COVID-19 along with seven deaths caused by the illness, according to data from Johns Hopkins.