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Lockdown Restrictions in Wales

A 'fire break' lockdown period will apply from 6pm on Friday 23rd October to Monday 9th November throughout Wales.  Restrictions include: 

  • All citizens are required to stay at home (work from home where ever possible, except from critical workers and those who strictly cannot work from home).
  • No gatherings or socialising with anyone that is not part of your household (social bubbles for support will be permitted).
  • All non-essential retail and hospitality will be closed and will not operate.
  • Community centres, libraries and recycling centres will be closed and will not operate.
  • Places of worship will not operate other than weddings and funerals.
  • For children – childcare will remain open, primary and special schools will reopen as normal after half term week, secondary will reopen after half term for year 7 & 8 only, those who are taking exams will also be able to attend.
  • Universities will continue to provide a mix of in person and online teaching (students will be required to stay uni accommodation).

The Welsh Government has published a list of frequently asked questions on the lockdown, which is available here. 

Non-Essential Product Restrictions

As part of the 'fire break' lockdown, the Welsh Government is restricting the sale of what it deems to be non-essential products.

The restriction on product sales means some shops will need to close some areas of their premises to customers, to withdraw products from display, or to cover them so it is obvious to customers that they are not for sale. Signage is important but signage alone is not sufficient to identify goods not on sale. Shops are encouraged to make these arrangements in ways which maximise safe circulation of customers around the premises.

In the context of a supermarket this means the following types of product may be sold:

  • Food and drink
  • Products ancillary to the sale of food and drink, primarily disposable items used for the preparation and storage of food (such as kitchen foil, food bags and cling film) but also basic products necessary to prepare and eat food and drink.
  • Products for washing clothes and for cleaning and maintaining the home, including batteries, light bulbs and fuel.
  • Toiletries and cosmetic products, including toilet rolls and sanitary products. 
  • Pharmaceutical products.
  • Baby products including equipment, clothes and nappies.
  • Newspapers and magazines.
  • Stationery and greetings cards.
  • Pet food and other pet supplies.
  • Products for the maintenance of bicycles and cars. 

ACS has produced a poster to help retailers communicate the restrictions to customers and minimise confrontation.  

Download the Poster

We have also written to the First Minister alongside the Welsh Retail Consortium, urging the Welsh Government to reconsider product restrictions.

The letter is below, and has been featured in the Telegraph

Dear First Minister,

We are writing to express our utmost concern about the new fire breaker regulations, specifically the plan to restrict the sale of so-called non-essential products in stores, and request an urgent meeting with you and affected members. We are happy to hold that meeting at any point today or this evening, or failing that tomorrow.

To date, all discussions between your officials and industry about the firebreak has been focused on the closure of types of business premises, not products. This last-minute change in policy approach will place huge additional operational pressure on the retail sector, our store colleagues and ultimately customers. 

Attempting to define, restrict and communicate the sales of non-essential products to our customers and colleagues with less than 36 hours’ notice is a near impossible task, more so with no clarity or guidance from government on what such non-essential products are. This policy will also put our colleagues in the difficult position of having to refuse the sale of certain products in store that could be a flashpoint for violence and abuse, which has spiked during this pandemic.

Stores will have to review thousands of products lines at incredibly short notice. This will also result in store layouts having to be reviewed that could undermine the safe flow of customers in store environments, the very antithesis of what your government is trying to achieve and what our members have strived to implement.

We are concerned that the restrictions of product sales will also result in consumers having to make multiple shopping trips, instead of being able to visit one store and make multiple purchases. We urge you to urgently revise this policy approach and instead work with the industry to keep essential businesses open and support non-essential businesses to use other channels to serve customers during the firebreak.

If you do go ahead with this policy, then at very least we need today the most comprehensive list possible of what can and cannot be sold, a understanding approach from enforcement bodies, and a commitment to an immediate communications campaign by the Welsh Government so that consumers are more likely to be aware of these restrictions before they visit stores.

Association of Convenience Stores

Welsh Retail Consortium