BOSTON (CBS) – The first phase of Boston’s plastic bag ban begins on Friday, with inspections underway at larger retail locations in the city.

Starting Friday, the ban will be in place for any store 20,000 square feet or larger. On April 1, the ban will impact stores 10,000 square feet and larger and the final phase is underway July 1 for stores smaller than 10,000 square feet.

Stores that are found in violation of the ban will receive a warning for a first offense, $50 fine on the second violation, and $100 for three or more violations.

The city mandates that compostable, reusable, or recyclable paper bags must be sold for at least five cents, though stores can charge more. The cost for bags must be advertised within five feet of checkout.

Businesses looking to apply for an exemption must apply by Friday. The application must show the business has no reasonable alternative to plastic bags, compliance would deprive of legally protected right, or there is a need to use up an existing plastic bag inventory.

For more information on the plastic bag ban, visit the City of Boston website.

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