The Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has banned many retailers from selling non-essential items like clothes during the “fire break.”
Residents in Wales will not be allowed to buy a jumper if they are cold or buy a lightbulb or any hardware from 6pm today, however, food shops, off-licences and pharmacies can stay open.
This bizarre move comes as Drakeford claims that this will create a “level playing field” as clothes shops and DIY stores will not be allowed to open, for 17 days.
Drakeford said, “In the first set of restrictions people were reasonably understanding of the fact that supermarkets didn’t close all the things that they may have needed to.
“I don’t think that 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 and that will not include some of the things that Russell George mentioned which other people are prevented from selling.
“So, we will make sure there is a more level playing field in those next two weeks.”
Under this new law, which thankfully only applies to the Welsh, firms that sell a mixed set of services, will only be allowed to open if they cease conducting the service which must close.
However, how this can be policed remains a mystery.
The Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Andrew RT Davies slammed the Welsh government, and he said on Twitter, “The power is going to their heads.”
He added, “Is a flagon of Strongbow deemed essential? What about some much-needed underpants if you’re caught short?
“I do hope there is some published guidance on what the Labour commissars deem as essential.”
Sue Davies, from consumer group Which? said, “Our own research showed that almost half of those who described themselves as situationally vulnerable in Wales during the previous lockdown had difficulty accessing the food and groceries they needed.
“The Welsh Government must act now to clarify the situation around what retailers can and cannot sell, and must urgently identify those most in need to give them the support to ensure that no-one who is at risk struggles to access the food and other basics they need.”
James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores hit out at Drakeford and said, “these regulations are badly thought out.”
Lowman added “Retailers must not be forced to stop making products available to customers just because ministers don’t think they’re essential.
“These regulations are badly thought out, providing little to no notice to retailers, and must be scrapped to avoid chaos in shops across Wales.
“The confusion and confrontations between customers and shopworkers that this rule will trigger will ultimately lead to more contacts and time spent in proximity to other people, which is the exact opposite of what ministers are aiming to achieve.”