Wales lockdown: Fury as 'non-essential' items are covered in supermarket amid 'firebreak'
SHOPPERS in Wales vented their fury as "non-essential" items were covered up in supermarkets, as the nation begins its "firebreak" lockdown tonight.
During the 17-day lockdown, supermarkets will be unable to sell clothes to customers – and staff will be told to prioritise the sale of "important" essential goods.
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Today a stunned shopper took snaps of a section in a Tesco store being effectively cordoned off, with household items such as duvets shut away.
Staff could be seen covering up aisles and stopping shoppers from accessing the banned items for the next two weeks.
A shocked person commented: "Non-essential items being covered up in supermarkets in Wales. Has it really come to this?"
And another said: "Shops in Wales covering up ‘non-essential items’ ahead of tonight’s lockdown. Not entirely sure I understand the logic."
It comes as:
- Sky New's Kay Burley clashed with a Welsh minister over essential items
- Revellers in Cardiff hit the town for one last night before the 'firebreak'
- Nicola Sturgeon revealed a strict five-tiered coronavirus system for Scotland
- Warrington is set to join Tier 3 next week with the toughest restrictions
- All areas of Britain have got an R rate above 1
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the rules on what can be sold and what can't will be "made clear" to supermarkets.
But it's left businesses with just hours to put together strategies for the lockdown, which will run until November 9.
A confused shopper tweeted a picture of shelves being covered up, adding: "Shops in Wales right now! Unbelievable!"
Have you seen shops covering up "non-essential" items? Send in pictures and get in touch on 02077824368 or [email protected]
All non-essential shops, pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels will be forced to shut altogether during the restrictions, which come into force today at 6pm.
Food shops, off-licences, pharmacies, banks and post offices will be allowed to remain open.
Earlier today, Welsh ministers struggled to defend their "trolley police" rules – as it emerged people will only be able to buy 'essential items' during the 'firebreak' lockdown which starts tonight.
Welsh people will be ordered to stay at home unless they're exercising or have vital reasons to leave for the duration of the shutdown.
'HAS IT COME TO THIS?'
The new rules for Wales are much harsher than those currently used in England, even for areas in tier 3.
Plans for the firebreak lockdown have been criticised as being too heavy-handed, with Tory MPs in Westminster saying the move is a "blunt instrument".
Mr Drakeford denied that asking supermarkets to only sell essential items during the firebreak lockdown because he favours restrictions and regulations.
He said: "It is a straightforward matter of fairness – we are in this together here in Wales.
"No individual and no organisation is above the effort that we are all required to make.
"That includes people who may believe that they themselves are beyond the law, and includes those organisations that are large and powerful."
People in Wales will have to:
- Follow strict stay at home orders
- Pubs, restaurants and all non-essential retail will be closed
- No meeting with anyone outside your household
- No alcohol sales after 10pm
- Leisure centres and services, including gyms, will have to close
- Professional sports will be able to continue
- Hairdressers and beauty services will have to close
- No gatherings will be allowed outdoors including Halloween and fireworks on Bonfire night
The lockdown will fall over the half-term holiday and extend for a week beyond that.
Primary schools will reopen as normal after the break and kids in secondary school in Year 7 and 8 will be able to go to school.
All other students will have to go back to home learning.
Mr Drakeford stressed that children were the "top priority" and childcare centres would be able to stay open throughout.
Under the law, firms conducting a business that provides a mixed set of services will be allowed to open if they cease conducting the service that must close.
James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said: "Retailers must not be forced to stop making products available to customers just because ministers don't think they're essential.
"These regulations are badly thought out, providing little to no notice to retailers, and must be scrapped to avoid chaos in shops across Wales.
"The confusion and confrontations between customers and shopworkers that this rule will trigger will ultimately lead to more contacts and time spent in proximity to other people, which is the exact opposite of what ministers are aiming to achieve."
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