Wales’ Lockdown Supermarket Non-Essential Item Ban To Be Reviewed

The Welsh government has said it will review its ban on supermarkets selling non-essential items following a widespread backlash.

The news came just hours before a man was charged with criminal damage and contravention of coronavirus regulations after an incident at a Tesco store in Bangor.

Gwilym Owen, 28, from Anglesey, will appear before magistrates in Caernarfon on 24 November.

Stationery is also unavailable to shoppers at the Pengam Green store
Image:Stationery was unavailable to shoppers at a supermarket in Pengam Green

Video on social media from Friday showed a person at the store pulling plastic sheeting from shelves.

The Welsh government has been widely criticised for guidance saying certain sections of supermarkets must be “cordoned off or emptied, and closed to the public”.

Affected items include electrical goods, telephones, clothes, toys and games, garden products and dedicated sections for homeware.

The reason put forward was to discourage people from spending too much time in shops and that it would be unfair if independent retailers were forced to close but supermarkets continued selling similar items.

Almost 43,000 people have signed a petition calling on politicians to reverse the ban, which it described as “disproportionate and cruel”.

Pressure has mounted on the Welsh Government to reverse the decision to prohibit supermarkets from selling items such as clothes and microwaves.

A petition to the Senedd has passed 42,000 signatures, making it the largest ever submitted in Wales.

Mr Drakeford said the Welsh Government was ensuring “common sense is applied”

Mr Drakeford said: “We’ll be reviewing how the weekend has gone with the supermarkets and making sure that common sense is applied.

“Supermarkets can sell anything that can be sold in any other type of shop that isn’t required to close. In the meantime, please only leave home if you need to.”

Earlier, the Welsh government issued a statement saying the ban was “not for the sake of being difficult”.

Home bargains in Swansea. Pic: Richard Collins
Image:Customers at Home Bargains in Swansea were told they could not buy certain items. Pic: Richard Collins

The leader of the Conservative opposition in the Welsh parliament, Paul Davies, branded the ban “madness” and said he has written to the presiding officer of the Senedd to call members back so they can debate the measures.

The popularity of the petition was a “clear sign” that people wanted the rule “scrapped immediately”, he added.

The lockdown, which ends on 9 November, bans people from leaving their homes except for reasons such as buying food and medicine, providing care or taking exercise.

It also means people should work from home where possible.

Home bargains in Swansea. Pic: Richard Collins
Image:Towels were among the banned items in Swansea. Pic: Richard Collins

Leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses are closed, as are libraries, community centres and recycling centres.

Places of worship are only allowed to open for funerals or weddings.

It has been estimated that the lockdown could cost the economy more than £500m.

On Saturday, Public Health Wales said 16 people had died with COVID-19, bringing the total to 1,772.

There were also 1,324 new cases of the virus confirmed, making a total of 41,577.

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