What you can and can't buy in supermarkets in Wales during the level 4 national lockdown

Aisles containing items classed as 'non-essential' have been closed off in supermarkets in Wales. Credit: PA Images

Wales was placed into a national lockdown on Saturday evening after growing concerns about the spread of a new coronavirus strain across the country.

The national lockdown means non-essential retail, close contact services, gyms and leisure centres and hospitality have had to close during this time, with people encouraged to work from home and extended households no longer allowed.

As part of the lockdown, the Welsh Government has also issued guidance on what supermarkets can and can't sell - with items such as toys, clothes, electrical goods and gardening products not able to be sold.

Pictures on social media on Saturday showed large groups of people lined up outside toy shops, and other retailers before they were forced to close.

Some supermarkets have already started to close off aisles containing 'non-essential' items, similar to what happened during Wales' firebreak lockdown earlier in the year.

So what can and can't you buy in supermarkets in Wales during the level 4 national lockdown?

Essential items such as food, drink, toiletries and baby products can be sold in supermarkets during the lockdown period. Credit: PA Images

Essential items

The Welsh Government has released a list of items which are classed as 'essential' items and can therefore be sold in supermarkets during the lockdown period.

These include:

  • 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.

Supermarkets in Wales are also allowed to sell any items that would ordinarily sold in small shops such as convenience stores, corner shops and off licences.

Guidance has been released on what can be classed as 'essential' and 'non-essential' items. Credit: PA Images

The list of 'essential' items released by the Welsh Government follows criticism from Wales' firebreak lockdown earlier in the year, where it received criticism for deciding which items could and could not be sold in supermarkets.

The Welsh Government then updated the list of items that could be sold in supermarkets following controversy during the firebreak.

It came after Tesco was forced to apologise for wrongly suggesting sanitary products were "non-essential" and so could not be sold due to the measures put in place in Wales during the firebreak.

Supermarkets were not allowed to sell a number of 'non-essential' items during the firebreak. Credit: PA Images

Non-essential items

Following the regulations of the national lockdown, non-essential retailers and businesses have been forced to close in Wales, with supermarkets not allowed to sell non-essential items during this time.

Items such as toys, clothes, electrical goods and gardening products will not able to be sold.

The Welsh Government says shops have a 'legal obligation' to close some areas of the stores and to not allow certain products to be sold.

It says making all of the store products available and 'merely asking customers through signage or announcements not to purchase anything that the customer thinks they have good reason to buy does not meet the legal obligation'.      

Supermarkets will have to close off areas selling 'non-essential' items. Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Government said: "These restrictions mean some shops will need to close some areas of their premises to customers. Some parts of large stores will display those “essential” goods that are allowed to continue to be sold while other parts may sell other “non-essential” goods.

"Where it is reasonably practicable for these to be clearly separated or demarcated then those non-essential goods may not be sold.

"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.

"Where such products do not have their own sections of the shop but are in distinct aisles, these should also be closed off or cordoned off if reasonably practicable.

"However, shops will need to make these arrangements in ways which allow safe circulation of customers around the premises, and so particularly in smaller premises we recognise that it will not always be possible to close whole aisles."