The government of Wales has received more than they bargained for after ordering supermarkets not to sell ‘non-essential’ goods… like clothing, books, phones and lots of other things that many people just can’t live without.
Customers of large retailers in Wales were greeted on Saturday with rows upon rows of shelves covered with plastic sheets or crisscrossed with tape. The businesses didn’t have much choice in the matter – they had to comply with new government guidelines meant to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Wales went into a 17-day “firebreak shutdown” on Friday evening, during which non-essential businesses will remain closed. And if a small shop cannot sell clothes, apparently neither can a giant retailer. That is because the government has to “maintain a level playing field” and not allow people “browsing around supermarkets looking for non-essential goods”, as First Minister Mark Drakeford put it. So, if you planned to buy warm clothes for your baby ahead of sub-zero-temperature weather, tough luck – order something online.
Wales have truly taken this second lockdown too far. Blocking off & sealing up “non essential” items in all stores so all we can buy is food. We can’t read, we can’t write, we can’t buy clothes, no birthday cards.. nothing 😳 pic.twitter.com/fcJdX8e6G0
— my sweet coco🕊 (@mysweetkoko) October 23, 2020
This is in #Wales
Where you aren't allowed, by law, to buy baby clothes as they are 'non essential items'.
— Sammie (@londoncatz1990) October 24, 2020
Naturally, many were not amused, and pounced on Drakeford and the Welsh Labour Party for coming up with the new rules. During Britain’s first national lockdown this spring, most small businesses were shuttered too, but supermarkets were allowed to sell their regular stock as usual.
"Essential goods only."
First Minister of Wales bans the sale of non-essential items during lockdown.
Who gets to decide what is "essential"?
Dictatorship, drunk on power.
— Carl Vernon (@RealCarlVernon) October 23, 2020
— Christina Jordan (@CJordanjb) October 23, 2020
Others responded with somewhat morbid humor, ridiculing the new measures or suggesting how they could be circumvented.
Meanwhile in Wales DON'T PANIC if you see me walking to the Butchers tomorrow.
I live in Wales and CLOTHING is NON ESSENTIAL for the next 17days.
Luckily Prosecco and Cauliflower is Essential! @piersmorgan pic.twitter.com/UbpYvcCmR7
— Jackie Meek (@JackieMeek6) October 24, 2020
Waitrose have got it covered in Wales….
Simply brand everything as essential. pic.twitter.com/liEYu0YCbW
— 🛒🛒🛒🛒🛒🛒🛒 (@Supermarketweet) October 23, 2020
Here's an idea. English people can deliver 'non essential' items to Wales via drones 😂😂
We would greatly appreciate it
— Matthew Brumby 🏴🇬🇧 (@matthewbrumby) October 23, 2020
She’s from Wales and bras are now non essential so she improvised!😉😂 pic.twitter.com/vSWtJuDkFg
— Mother of Hope (@opinionatedmum1) October 24, 2020
The ban was announced without a clarification of what goods were considered non-essential, leaving large retailers to guess. Businesses allowed to remain open include bicycle shops and livestock auctions, so there was plenty of room for interpretation, and large corporations naturally took the conservative approach, much to the chagrin of their customers.
Books are one item many consider essential in their lives and would like to see made available during the next two weeks. There have also been complaints about the ban covering clothing, cleaning products, and, of course, fireworks for Guy Fawkes’ Night, which will take place in the second week of the lockdown.
— Edd Sirr (@eddsirr) October 23, 2020
So, we’re hoping that shops in Wales can put their fire works back in the store room for another year.
We’re in lockdown now and fireworks aren’t really an essential item and by the time we come out of this lockdown, Nov 5th will have passed. pic.twitter.com/AsI6Xnl5sz
— B.W.Y Canine Ltd (@BWYK9) October 23, 2020
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