In an inexplicable move that seems to have made matters even worse (if such a thing can be believed,) the state of Vermont has ordered stores to stop selling “non-essential” items like electronics, toys and clothing as more and more states crack down on harsh stay-at-home orders and mandates against public gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to this, Target, Costco and Walmart have actually roped off entire “non-essential” sections of their stores across the state – i.e., any section other than the grocery department and the pharmacy – per a new order from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development barring big-box retailers from selling a whole span of goods like – including arts and crafts, beauty supplies, carpet and flooring, clothing, consumer electronics, entertainment, furniture, home and garden, jewelry, paint, photo services, sports equipment and toys – on their store floors. Retailers have been instructed to either close these sections of their store or remove the items from the shelves. Home improvement retailers have been told to close their lawn and garden sections or furniture showrooms.
Customers who want these items will have to order them online or use curbside pick-up.
The state says the decision was meant to cut down on the number of shoppers leaving their homes.
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,” Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle said in a news release. “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."
But it looks like the order may actually be having the opposite effect, with many residents saying on social media that the order has corralled customers already relegated to a smaller number of stores into even tighter and more densely packed spaces.