Non-essential items like toys have been blocked off at some supermarkets in Wales.
With just days to go before Christmas the Welsh Government announced on December 19 that the country would enter a level four system of restrictions as the spread of coronavirus hastens.
The restrictions came into force at midnight on Sunday, December 20 and meant the closure of all non-essential retail.
Supermarkets can remain open and the Welsh Government has listed what they can and can’t sell while the country remains in level four.
It meant some items were blocked off on Sunday as the new restrictions came into force. This was seen at Asda in Cardiff Bay where aisles selling toys, Christmas decorations, gifts and candles were blocked off.
Listing what can and can not be sold at supermarkets in Wales, the Welsh Government said: “In large supermarkets, in most cases it will be clear that certain sections of the store must be cordoned off or emptied, and closed to the public.
“Where there are distinct parts of a store selling (for example) electrical goods, clothes, toys, games, or products for the garden, these should be closed to the public – and these products should not be sold.”
The items supermarkets are allowed to sell are as follows:
- Food and drink.
- Products ancillary to the sale of food and drink, including 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 such as food containers, pots and pans, crockery, cutlery and other similar items
- Products for washing clothes and for cleaning and maintaining the home, including batteries, light bulbs and fuel. This also includes any products necessary for the upkeep of animals
- Toiletries, personal care 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.
- Services for the repair and maintenance of mobile telecommunications or IT devices
A Welsh Government spokesman said that while toys can not be sold in supermarkets, cards, wrapping paper and other stationary items are allowed.
He added: “We know the speed at which the alert level four measures had to be brought in will have been frustrating for people hoping to complete their Christmas preparations over the coming days.
“This action was necessary in the face of worrying new information about the fast-moving mutated strain of the virus which is circulating in Wales and the increasing pressure on our NHS.
“All businesses can offer click and collect services, which will enable people to buy the items they need without having to go into shops.
“We face a very serious situation – more people are dying every day from this awful virus. We need everyone to work together to control the spread of coronavirus and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.”
What do you think of the new level four restrictions? Leave your comments here.
Asda confirmed that non-essential aisles had been closed off as well as its stand-alone Living stores which sells clothes, toys and homewear and that it is following Welsh Government guidelines on retail.
A spokesman for Tesco said stores would be following government guidelines in its Welsh stores.
The ban on non-essential sales caused controversy during the 17-day fire-break at the end of October.
Some businesses were upset that the rules were issued late and some shoppers objected.
For more on the Welsh Government guidance about shopping, click here.