What you can and can’t buy in shops during Wales’ fire-break lockdown

Welsh Government has released guidance about what products can be bought from shops. Credit: PA

Guidance has been released on exactly what items can be sold and what areas of supermarkets need to be closed off to the public during the 17-day fire-break lockdown.

The Welsh Government published the advice as all non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants were told to close to help slow the spread of coronavirus in the country.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has regularly spoken during his press conferences about the need for the public to think about "what they can do" during lockdown to help control coronavirus.

Speaking at a Welsh Government press conference on Friday the minister said: "We are looking to minimise the amount of time that people spend out of their homes during this two week period."

People will be allowed to go to supermarkets during the lockdown period. Credit: PA

In the guidance, the Welsh Government stated that it recognised the efforts a number of businesses had made during recent months but that minimising any contributions to transmission was "important".

Guidance on what products can be sold

The products and services which can be sold in stores are any products which would normally be sold in:

  • Food and drink retailers (including off licences)

  • Newsagents

  • Building supplies and hardware stores

  • Pharmacies and chemists

  • Bicycle shops

  • Petrol stations

  • Garages and vehicle hire businesses

  • Post offices, banks, building societies and similar

  • Pet shops

  • Agricultural and aquacultural supplies shops; and

  • Livestock markets and auctions

Sections of supermarkets to be closed for customers

In the guidance it says that shops and retailers that sell a variety of different items, for example supermarkets, should close off areas to customers.

The guidance says: "Businesses which would normally sell a range of products in their stores may only sell those items which fall into the categories above. This is likely to mean some areas of stores should be closed to customer access."

The guidance continues that parts of a store selling electrical goods, telephones, clothes, toys and games, and products for the garden should be closed to the public.

A dedicated section selling homeware products should also be closed meaning that utensils, crockery, furniture, bedding and decorative objectives for the home can't be sold during the two week lockdown.

Some items which can be classed as homeware such as batteries, light bulbs and rubber gloves can still be sold as they are deemed as essential to running of a household.

Click and collect services will also remain open for customers but only for shops that are allowed to be open under new guidance. The Welsh Government say that where possible the item available should be those that are on sale in the shop.

It later states: "We recognise that some online services will not be able to differentiate between different categories of goods, and in those circumstances it would not be proportionate to cease all click and collect services, given that the impact of that would likely be to increase the number of people attending stores in person."

First Minister Mark Drakeford has told the public to follow rules to help protect lives in Wales. Credit: PA

Speaking at his press conference on Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said that the decision to restrict the items people can buy in essential shops was a "matter of fairness".

"The decision is simply based on the need for fair play," he explained.

"I’m not prepared to treat small businesses in Wales in one way requiring them to close and telling them they are not able to earn a living during these two weeks as part of our national effort.

"Then simply because another sector in society are more powerful and bigger that they think that they can be treated differently."

Mr Drakeford also expressed that it was important to make sure people were not "browsing around supermarkets looking for non-essential goods" at a time when they should be at home.

It also noted that shops should use their "best endeavours" to consider whether the item is of importance and on any occasion that it is in an aisle with other essentials then it should be made unavailable to purchase.

You can find the Welsh Government's full guidance here.