Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on the Welsh government to reverse a ban on supermarkets selling non-essential items during the firebreak lockdown in Wales.
First minister Mark Drakeford said the restriction was a “matter of fairness” as non-essential retail has to close during the two-week period, which began at 6pm on Friday and will last until November 9.
People living in Wales told HuffPost UK on Friday that the ban on non-essential items – including clothes, toys, electrical goods, phones, gardening products and homeware – felt like a “punishment”.
Guidance published by the Welsh government says certain sections of supermarkets must be “cordoned off or emptied, and closed to the public”.
Supplies for the “essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household” – such as batteries, lightbulbs and rubber gloves – can be sold during the lockdown.
Just hours into the firebreaker lockdown a video emerged on social media of a man ripping plastic covers off of items deemed to be non-essential at a Tesco Extra store in Bangor.
Images posted on social media showed aisles selling products such as children’s clothes, greetings cards and books blocked off, with plastic sheeting placed over items to prevent shoppers from accessing them.
Yeah...totally normal and necessary measures in the Welsh Firebreak 🙄 pic.twitter.com/j2cY2tqzSL
— Joe 🦩 (@Joe_363_) October 23, 2020
Mark Drakeford's banned books pic.twitter.com/J0LIc14cgf
— Sam Warrenger (@SamWarrenger) October 23, 2020
A petition calling on the Welsh government to allow supermarkets to sell non-essential items had received more than 19,000 signatures at the time of writing on Saturday afternoon.
“We do not agree that this is a prudent or rational measure, and will create more harm than good,” the petition states.
“We do not agree for example that parents should be barred from buying clothes for their children during lockdown while out shopping.