News, Culture & Society

Welsh shoppers are left outraged after supermarkets cordon off non-essential items

Shoppers in Wales have been left outraged after supermarkets cordoned off non-essential items days before Christmas under the country’s shock Covid crackdown.

Pictures today emerged of Sainsbury’s in Pontypridd which blocked off non-essential sections of the store using large red barricades.

Sainsbury’s say the items – including clothing and Christmas decorations – are blocked off ‘in line with the Welsh government’s guidance’.

From midnight last night, Wales was thrust into a full lockdown – forcing all non-essential shops to close their doors and slashing Christmas bubbles to a single day.

Many questioned whether the non-essential shopping rules would bring the same chaos as the country’s 17-day firebreak lockdown in October.

Pictures today emerged of Sainsbury’s in Pontypridd which blocked off non-essential sections of the store using large red barricades (pictured)

Clothing and Christmas decorations were among the areas cut off to shoppers at Sainsbury's in Pontypridd

Clothing and Christmas decorations were among the areas cut off to shoppers at Sainsbury’s in Pontypridd

The clothing section in Pontypridd's Sainsbury's was blocked off to customers with a sign urging people to buy only what is essential

The clothing section in Pontypridd’s Sainsbury’s was blocked off to customers with a sign urging people to buy only what is essential

The lockdown sparked ‘trolley police’ madness with some shoppers claiming sanitary towels and baby formula were all labelled ‘non-essential’.

Others slammed the rules for coming so close to Christmas, with many now unable to buy items such as electronics or baby clothing as presents.  

Nathan took to Twitter to ask First Minister of Wales Make Drakeford for clarity on the rules, writing: ‘Can you please clarify the position of supermarkets in wales selling non-essential items. 

‘With the new imposed tier 4 level of restrictions and non-essential shops closing. Are we under the same rules as the firebreak lockdown?’

But it seems not all supermarkets are blocking off sections of their store, as shoppers were seen browsing clothes, toys and homeware aisles at Tesco Extra in Cardiff

But it seems not all supermarkets are blocking off sections of their store, as shoppers were seen browsing clothes, toys and homeware aisles at Tesco Extra in Cardiff

From midnight last night, Wales was thrust into a full lockdown - forcing all non-essential shops to close their doors and slashing Christmas bubbles to a single day. Pictured: A closed shopping arcade in Cardiff

From midnight last night, Wales was thrust into a full lockdown – forcing all non-essential shops to close their doors and slashing Christmas bubbles to a single day. Pictured: A closed shopping arcade in Cardiff

Workers removed Christmas decorations from Christmas markets on the Hayes in Cardiff today

Workers removed Christmas decorations from Christmas markets on the Hayes in Cardiff today

A man walked past a Cardiff cafe with a Merry Christmas sign on December 20 after all non-essential shops were forced to shut

A man walked past a Cardiff cafe with a Merry Christmas sign on December 20 after all non-essential shops were forced to shut

He added: ‘God forbid my Nan needs a new duvet over the lockdown period as Asda Aberdare have restrictions on certain items – but if she needed a whisk we’re in luck. 

‘Maybe more clarity was needed before you plunged us back into chaos.’

Mel Wright wrote: ‘You made a statement to the children of Wales that Santa will still be able to visit. 

‘Please don’t stop supermarkets from selling non-essential items so that parents that still need to can buy Christmas presents. Not everyone can online shop.’ 

Joel Williams said: ‘Supermarkets across Wales are being told to cordon off certain shopping aisles and not sell “non essential” items.

‘This crazy decision by Welsh Government erodes the faith and trust the public have in the politicians making these important decisions.’

Others shared pictures of the huge queues forming outside supermarkets as panicked Christmas shoppers rushed to buy their gifts. 

Many pointed out that parents would be waiting for payday on December 21 before buying presents for their children. 

Naomi Wolf added: ‘How does removing non-essential items help public health if folks are shopping anyway for “essential items”? 

‘Non-essential items protect public health by allowing shop owners who are not Amazon, to eat and have shelter. Are there ANY studies about “shopping for nonessential items”?’

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: ‘In line with the Welsh government’s guidance we are limiting sales in our stores to food and other essential items only.’

But it seems not all supermarkets are blocking off sections of their store, as shoppers were seen browsing clothes, toys and homeware aisles at Tesco Extra in Cardiff. 

Boris Johnson yesterday revealed in a 4pm emergency press conference that a third of England – including London and swathes of the home counties – would be thrust into a brutal Tier 4 lockdown from midnight on Saturday. 

The Welsh government previously broke ranks with the rest of the UK by scaling back Christmas bubbles, in effect from December 23 to 27, from three to two households.

And last night First Minister Mark Drakeford said its Level 4 lockdown will come into effect from midnight yesterday, rather than waiting until December 28.

The latest evidence suggests this new strain is present throughout Wales,’ Mr Drakeford said. ‘The situation is incredibly serious. I cannot overstate this.

‘We have therefore reached the difficult decision to bring forward the alert level four restrictions for Wales, in line with the action being taken in London and the South East of England.

‘These new restrictions will come into effect from midnight tonight instead of during the Christmas period.

‘This will mean non-essential retail, close contact services, gyms and leisure centres and hospitality will close at the end of trading today. Stay-at-home restrictions will also come into effect from midnight.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk