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Big-Box Stores Can’t Sell Jewelry, Other ‘Non-Essential’ Items in Some Parts of US

Customers are being encouraged to switch to online ordering and curbside pickup for non-essential items.

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Big-box retailers such as Walmart, Costco and Target remain open but are forbidden from selling “non-essential” products, with jewelry being called out specifically in some cases.

Amid COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the stores are allowed to sell groceries and operate their pharmacies but must make other products off-limits for in-store shoppers, Business Insider reports.

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Places where this is happening include Vermont; Michigan; Summit County, CO; and Howard County, IN. The goal is to limit the spread of the virus by minimizing the number of people in stores.

“Large ‘big box’ retailers generate significant shopping traffic by virtue of their size and the variety of goods offered in a single location,” said Lindsay Kurrle, secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

The order mentions these items as non-essential: “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.”

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In Summit County, CO, a new addendum from the local health department reads: “In order to discourage public gatherings and overcrowding, establishments meeting the definition of grocery, pharmacy, pet food store, or hardware store may sell only those items included in those categories; i.e. stores shall cordon off and not allow sales of items other than pharmaceuticals, groceries including essential goods and services such as cleaning products, pet food and supplies, or hardware.”

Customers are being encouraged to switch to online ordering and curbside pickup for non-essential items.

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