The move has left shoppers confused and asking what is and isn’t essential. One lady’s enraged tweet went viral after she found period products cordoned off in her local Tesco supermarket.
Tesco responded to the shopper, in a tweet that was apparently deleted afterwards, claiming that the measures were in line with the government restrictions.
At this point, the Welsh government intervened, pointing out that these products need to be available. “Supermarkets can still sell items that can be sold in pharmacies,” a tweet from an official account clarified.
Social media has been awash with exasperated citizens making their own protest. A Welsh man responded to the announcement that clothes were non-essential by taking to the supermarket only wearing his underwear.
Many people were angered by the availability of alcohol but not other items. One woman claimed that she couldn’t buy a sympathy card for her friend who had lost their father to Covid, but she could buy vodka.
Whilst another lady questioned the government’s commitment to mental health.
One woman told the BBC that she was unable to buy replacement clothes for her daughter after she was taken to hospital covered in blood. “I have never felt so angry, frustrated or upset, ever. You just never know when a ‘non-essential’ item will become ‘essential’ to you.”
The shopping rules were introduced on Friday evening, as part of Wales’ 17-day lockdown, but retailers argue that they weren’t given enough time to prepare as the restrictions were only announced on Thursday morning.
Businesses also claim that they haven’t been given a definitive list of banned items, leading to confusion as shops try to interpret the new rules.
Over 65,000 people have signed a petition demanding the removal of the ban on non-essential items being sold in supermarkets.
On Saturday, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the government would “be reviewing how the weekend has gone with the supermarkets and making sure common sense is applied.”
Wales is subjected to the strictest Covid-19 measures in the UK, with guidance suggesting people should only leave the house if they really need to. The lockdown will remain in place until November 9.
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