Wales lockdown: Chaos as public told they CAN buy ‘non essentials’ – but only in ‘exceptional circumstances’

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WELSH ministers caused more chaos today as they said that non-essential products could be sold in "exceptional circumstances - as they considered rowing back on the draconian new lockdown rules.

Leader Mark Drakeford has banned the sale of non-essential goods during the fortnight long firebreaker lockdown - sparking fury among Welsh residents.

Vaughan Gething said that if there were exceptional circumstances, people would be able to buy non-essential goods

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Vaughan Gething said that if there were exceptional circumstances, people would be able to buy non-essential goods

The Welsh Government is due to discuss the ban today - after photos of books, greetings cards, and even clothes were cordoned off in supermarkets over the weekend.

Wales' Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said that supermarkets in the country can sell non-essential items during the firebreak lockdown in "exceptional circumstances" - in a significant climb-down.

He told Sky News today: "We're looking to have that clarity so you don't see cards, for example, sealed up in one shop but available in another.

"We want the clarity on the principle that if there really are exceptional circumstances when someone needs what would otherwise be a non-essential item, that can happen as well.

"We want that clarity because this potentially overshadows the much bigger issue of having a firebreak to save people's lives."

It came as Tesco was today forced to apologise after banning the sale of sanitary products in one of its stores because of barmy Welsh lockdown rules.

A female shopper told how her local branch sealed off the aisle selling period products and refused to sell her any.

The supermarket giant originally blamed the Welsh government for the scandal, claiming the products could not be sold because they were deemed “non-essential”.

But after sparking a Twitter storm, they issued a swift apology and said it was a mistake by the local supermarket.

Welsh shopper Katie was furious when she discovered she could not buy sanitary towels at the supermarket.

Tweeting the supermarket giant to complain, posting: “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.”

Nichola-Louise Smith also found the sanitary towel section closed off at a Tesco store in St Mellons, Cardiff

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Nichola-Louise Smith also found the sanitary towel section closed off at a Tesco store in St Mellons, CardiffCredit: Triangle News

Some areas were cordoned off in branches of shops

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Some areas were cordoned off in branches of shopsCredit: Triangle News

Katie said she was told she couldn't buy them either

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Katie said she was told she couldn't buy them eitherCredit: Triangle News

A customer services rep at the chain said they were acting on the orders of the Welsh government.

The rep tweeted: “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 lockdown.”

The Welsh government scrambled to kill off the claim, insisting that period products are essential.

They posted: “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.”

And Tesco scrambled to delete its earlier post and apologise for the scandal.

They wrote: "Clearly sanitary products are an essential purchase and I'm so sorry to see that one of our stores has them restricted at the moment.”

They vowed to look into the case further.

Shelves in a supermarket near Cardiff are deemed non-essential items and are taped off 

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Shelves in a supermarket near Cardiff are deemed non-essential items and are taped off Credit: PA:Press Association

Shops are only allowed to sell essentials - food and alcohol are included

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Shops are only allowed to sell essentials - food and alcohol are includedCredit: PA:Press Association

Home ware has been taped off

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Home ware has been taped offCredit: Wales News Service

Other shops selling clothes have covered up the products to stop them being bought

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Other shops selling clothes have covered up the products to stop them being boughtCredit: Wales News Service

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. https://t.co/kIo5l5z2Zc

— Welsh Government (@WelshGovernment) October 26, 2020

But the furore heaps fresh pressure on leftie Welsh leader Mr Drakeford, who has been accused of acting like the Stasi by dictating exactly what supermarkets can and cannot sell.

Kids clothes and books have all been roped off to stop punters buying them because they are deemed “non essential”.

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The Welsh government insists the draconian orders are fair to slash the time people spend on shops.

But after fury erupted among shoppers, Mr Drakeford has said supermarkets will be given more discretion over what is classified as non essential.

He said last night: "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."

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