Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that supermarkets will not be able to sell ‘non-essential’ goods like clothing during a 17-day lockdown.
From 6 pm on Friday to midnight on November 9th, Wales will see many retailers close, apart from shops which sell food like supermarkets, as well as pharmacies and off-licences.
There had been a complaint in the Welsh parliament that clothing shops and hardware stores had to close, while supermarkets were still open to sell similar products. The Welsh leader’s solution was, instead of allowing those shops to remain open, to ban larger retailers from selling ‘non-essentials’ entirely.
Claiming the move would create a “level playing field” for small businesses, Mr Drakeford said on Thursday according to the BBC: “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.”
Andrew RT Davies, a Conservative member of the Welsh assembly, responded to the announcement by saying that “the power is going to their heads,” mocking the Labour-led regional government by asking: “Is a flagon of Strongbow deemed essential? What about some much-needed underpants if you’re caught short?”
Non-essential items being covered up in supermarkets in Wales. Has it really come to this? pic.twitter.com/YwtIUjgc8P
— Grant Tucker (@GrantTucker) October 23, 2020
“According to the Welsh Labour Government, COVID can now tell whether you’re shopping for some milk or a cardigan! Like all good socialists, they always think they know what’s best for us. And like all good eastern block communists leaders they do it all to keep us ‘safe’,” Mr Davies said.
Former Conservative Member of European Parliament (MEP) Daniel Hannan also remarked on the bizarre rule, saying: “How is this supposed to slow the infection rate? Or is it just some weird Labour anti-capitalist thing?”
Senior Tory MP Tom Tugendhat said: “There’s a difference between giving advice to keep people safe and trying to take over our lives. This is a step too far. What gives the Labour Party the right to decide what families need?”
The Times‘s Grant Tucker reported an image on Twitter of a Tesco supermarket in Pontypool covering so-called ‘non-essentials’ with plastic sheets, some of which appears to be bedding — essential items as the weather changes and nights become colder.
The move is reminiscent of the overjealous policing of shoppers during the UK’s nationwide shutdown in March, with one police force threatening to check people’s shopping baskets to make sure they were not buying ‘non-essential’ items. The leading police officer who made the remarks later apologised and claimed they had simply used “clumsy” language.
Convenience stores also complained of being harassed by police for selling Easter eggs, because they were ‘non-essential’. One police force even summonsed for offences a group of people from the same household going to the shops “for non-essential items”.
Delingpole: British Police Declare Easter Eggs ‘Non-Essential’ https://t.co/0MxWCxp6uc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 30, 2020