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Oct 26, 2020
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Wales relaxes some non-essentials rules, but clothing ban remains

Published
Oct 26, 2020

The Welsh government is standing by last week’s ruling to ban sales of clothing in supermarkets during its new “firebreak” lockdown, despite an outcry from consumers.


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Although a ban on selling non-essential items during Wales' lockdown will not be reversed, first minister Mark Drakeford said some of the rules may be “tweaked” and a review into how they have been implemented would be held on Monday.

On Monday morning the government moved to rule that supermarkets can now sell certain items such as sanitary products, previously banned as “non-essential”.

Under the wider rules, which began at 6pm on Friday and will end on November 9, supermarkets have been told to only sell “essential” items and must close the parts of their stores that sell products such as clothes, shoes, toys and bedding during the 17-day lockdown. The restrictions were designed to cut visiting times to supermarkets to restrict the spread of the Covid-19.

The wider ban is being upheld despite a petition of over 60,000 signatures calling for the ban to be immediately reversed, while the Welsh Conservative party said the rules were “mixed-messaging".

In an interview with BBC Wales, Drakeford said: "The position we face in Wales is really and deeply serious and for these two weeks we are asking people to stay at home and not to mix with other people as much as they can.

"If the rules are not sensible rules, if there are anomalies that are emerging, we will put them right, but the basic underlying public health emergency has not gone away.

"The basic decision is the right one. If the implementation of it, the interpretation of it needs to be revisited to make sure the rules are sensible, then we will do that.

"Non-essential goods are not allowed to be sold over the next two weeks. That's why there are hundreds of shops the length and breadth of Wales are closed. The underlying issue is not about shopping, it is about saving lives.”

On Sunday, Drakeford also told ITV Wales News: "I won't need - I don't think - to buy clothing over this two weeks and I think many, many people in Wales will be in that position too. For me, it won't be essential. But I recognise that there will be some people who for entirely unexpected reasons which they couldn't have foreseen will need to buy items. In those circumstances where those welfare reasons are at stake, we will make sure that our supermarkets understand they have the discretion to apply the rules differently."

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