Supermarkets in Wales have been told they cannot sell clothing, or other “non-essential” items, during a 17-day “firebreak” lockdown, which gets underway today.
First minister Mark Drakeford said the move was design to ensure a “level playing field” between supermarkets and those non-essential retailers who are obliged to close altogether.
Only shops selling food, off-licenses, banks, post offices and pharmacies will be able to stay open. Supermarkets will not be permitted to open their clothing or homewares departments during the period.
“In the first set of restrictions people were reasonably understanding of the fact that the supermarkets didn’t close all the things that they may have needed to.
“I don’t think people will be as understanding this time and we will be making it clear to supermarkets that they are only able to open those parts of their business that provide essential goods to people can that will not include some the things […] which other people are prevented from selling.
“So we will make sure there is a more level playing field in those next two weeks.”
During the UK-wide lockdown from March to June across the UK, supermarkets were permitted to open in full. While trying on clothes was generally not permitted, customers could buy clothing and other non-essential items while shopping for food.
Throughout England localised restrictions are in force and, even at the highest tier (Tier 3), non-essential retail is still permitted to open.