TESCO has been blasted after a shopper was told she can’t buy sanitary pads at a branch in Wales because they are NOT an essential item.
The supermarket giant has found itself embroiled in a furious row as female customers say they were left “raging and in tears” over the move.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updatesWomen have hit out at Tesco after they were unable to buy sanitary products in a Welsh branch The Twitter user was told the items are banned by the Welsh government during the shutdown Twitter user Nichola-Louise Smith said she was left in tears during her shopping experienceCredit: Triangle News The furore left one Twitter user 'cringing' Others spoke of their anger at the 'complete insanity' It comes as major supermarkets - including this branch of Sainsbury's in Cardiff - use plastic sheeting to cover items like school uniformCredit: Wales News Service
Tesco has blamed the Welsh government for the row - claiming ministers said the period products can't be sold throughout the country’s 17-day Covid lockdown.
A move by the supermarket to cordon off period items with barriers sparked fury.
One shopper, who gave her name as Katie, tweeted the supermarket giant to ask: "Can you explain why I was told today that I can't buy period pads as I'm sure they are essential to women?!!!
"But I can buy alcohol - it doesn't make sense."
Bonkers - eight items that count as 'essentials' (and eight that don't)
The Welsh government's decision to ban the sale of 'non-essentials' during a 17-day firebreak has sparked fury
Essential:Alcohol Crisps Magazines Cigarettes Dog treats Bicycles Rubber gloves Bunches of flowers
Non-essentialMops and buckets Kettles Toasters Books Baby grows Warm winter jumpers Duvets Birthday cards
Single mum Nichola-Louise Smith said: "I’m literally raging and in tears.
"Tesco, how the hell is beer essential and PERIOD PRODUCTS non-essential."
A Tesco PR representative replied to Katie: "We understand how frustrating these changes will be for our Welsh customers.
"However, we have been told by the Welsh Government not to sell, these items for the duration of the firebreak."
But the chain later apologised for getting it wrong after government officials clarified that the products can be sold.
In a tweet, a spokesperson from the authority said: "This is wrong - period products are essential.
"Supermarkets can still sell items that can be sold in pharmacies.
"Only selling essential items during firebreak is to discourage spending more time than necessary in shops.
"It should not stop you accessing items that you need."
Now, Tesco says: "Of course sanitary products are essential items and are available to customers in all of our stores, including those in Wales.
"The reply to this customer was sent by mistake and we’re very sorry for any confusion caused."
So, what does count as essential in Wales?
Welsh people can buy products that would normally sold in:
The rules state: "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. It will be important though for such stores to manage access to different categories of goods in a way that ensures customers and staff can circulate safely within the store.
"Some products may need to remain available to avoid creating unnecessary constraints on a mixed product aisle to the safe circulation of customers."
It comes as officials in the country face a huge backlash over their definition over what counts as essential - and what doesn't.
During the new shutdown, which came into force at 6pm on Friday, stores are unable to sell clothes to customers and staff are being told to prioritise the sale of "important" essential goods.
Stunned shoppers shared images of aisles being cordoned off.
Stationary, books, warm winter duvets, children's clothes and even cleaning products like mops are banned from sale until November.It comes as supermarkets were ordered to stop selling non-essential items during a 17-day firebreak lockdown Warm winter coats, duvets and cleaning products like mops have been classed as non-essential under the order Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition contesting the new policy Now First Minister Mark Drakeford says there will be a review of the measureCredit: Matthew Horwood One mum said it was 'madness' that cleaning supplies aren't on sale in the middle of a pandemic
The terms of the new measures are far harsher than the original March lockdown - when supermarkets weren't banned from selling any items.
More than 50,000 people have now signed the largest-ever Senedd petition contesting the rules on 'non-essential goods'.
Rules descended further into confusion today as ministers said people can buy non-essential goods in supermarkets - but only if they are essential.
Labour leader Mr Drakeford and his team have risked compounding the chaos by saying that shops can now use their 'discretion'.
Health minister Vaughan Gething said customers should be allowed to buy "otherwise non-essential goods" if there were "exceptional circumstances" that meant they were essential.
Mr Gething told Sky News this morning that they were "clarifying" the rules.
"We are looking to have that clarity for everyone so you don’t see cards for example sealed up in one shop but available in another," he said.
"If there really are exceptional circumstances and someone needs what would otherwise be a non-essential item, that that can happen as well."
In addition, police have been carrying out spot checks on people travelling in the country.
British Transport Police's North Wales team faced anger over the weekend after sharing a now-deleted photo of officers crowding around a passenger on a train.
And many in the country have now lashed out at Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.
I’m literally raging and in tears. Tesco, how the hell is beer essential and PERIOD PRODUCTS non-essential?
Twitter user Nichola-Louise
He has confirmed a review into items on sale in supermarkets will take place this week.
He said: "We’ll be reviewing how the weekend has gone with the supermarkets and making sure that common sense is applied.
"Supermarkets can sell anything that can be sold in any other type of shop that isn't required to close.
"In the meantime, please only leave home if you need to."
He said during a press conference last week: "It is a straightforward matter of fairness - we are in this together here in Wales.
"No individual and no organisation is above the effort that we are all required to make.
"That includes people who may believe that they themselves are beyond the law, and includes those organisations that are large and powerful."First Minister Mark Drakeford has faced huge criticism over the policyCredit: AFP or licensors Many took to Twitter to hit out at the government's decisions This social media user questioned the wisdom of making children's clothes 'non-essential' Others asked about why they're not able to buy a new kettle Lucy said those struggling for cash will be 'hit the hardest'