Posted: Wed 28th Oct 2020

Updated: Wed 28th Oct

Welsh Government provides retailers with updated list of products which can be sold during fire break

North Wales news and information

Baby clothes, sanitary products and greetings cards have now been listed as essential items that should be sold in supermarkets during Wales’ lockdown.

The Welsh Government has provided retailers with an updated list of products which can be sold during the two-week fire break which came into force on Friday.

CBI Wales had called on the government to allow individual customers to be trusted to make their own decision as to whether a product is non-essential or not, “taking into account the notices displayed throughout the store and their immediate needs.”

It’s a policy which appears to have been adopted at B&M Bargains in Deeside.

The Welsh Government has said you will now be able to ask for non-essential items in exceptional circumstances.

Jane, a supermarket worker from Flintshire said her store had to use its discretion over the weekend with a customer who was ‘in distress.’

She said a customer “needed baby clothes, they’d fled from a bad situation and were unable to bring everything that they needed for their baby. We allowed them to purchase what they needed.

“They were in a pretty desperate state because they needed that, there was no way you could have said no.”

The Welsh Government said: “Following positive discussions with essential retailers, representative groups and Trades Unions we have provided an updated list of goods that can be sold, and have clarified that a sensible system should be introduced whereby customers can ask to buy non-essential items by exception under the regulations.”

“We are hopeful this provides a workable solution for retailers and customers. However, we cannot move away from the central principle that retailers must restrict the sale of non-essential goods for the duration of the firebreak.”

“We continue to work closely with the sector and would stress that these restrictions are in place to stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives.”

“We are asking the public to continue to support the effort by restricting unnecessary journeys and shopping.”

The updated list:

  • Food and drink
  • Products ancillary to the sale of food and drink, primarily disposable items used for the preparation and storage of food (such as kitchen foil, food bags and cling film) but also basic products necessary to prepare and eat food and drink
  • Products for washing clothes and for cleaning and maintaining the home, including batteries, light bulbs and fuel
  • Toiletries and cosmetic products, including toilet rolls and sanitary products
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Baby products including equipment, clothes and nappies
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Stationery and greetings cards
  • Pet food and other pet supplies
  • Products for the maintenance of bicycles and cars

There have been calls for the Welsh Government to ditch the ban on the sale of non-essential items.

The move has seen a fierce backlash from the public, an online petition against the non-essential item has gathered tens of thousands of signatures.

Since Friday there have been images circulating online of aisles selling clothing, books, cleaning products, electrical goods and magazines either closed off or covered in plastic.

Opposition politicians have waded in on the Welsh Government over the issue which, first minister Mark Drakeford said, had been put in place to create a “level the playing field with small and high street stores” and to stop people lingering in supermarket aisles.

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