Welsh ministers double down and swear to keep police restrictions on trams

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Welsh ministers doubled their number of police caddies during the ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown – but the list of ‘essential’ items available for purchase has been expanded to include baby clothes.

The Welsh government said on Tuesday it had had “positive discussions” with essential retailers, representative groups and unions over the rules.

Ministers issued an update to the list of items that can be sold in stores and supermarkets that are allowed to remain open during the lockdown.

But they say the principle of restricting goods will remain in place until the lockdown ends – which is expected to take place on November 9.

In supermarkets, 10 kinds of products can be sold. Food and beverages are permitted, as are “incidental to the sale of food and drink” products, including disposable items used to prepare and store food such as foil, food bags and the plastic film.

The Welsh government said on Tuesday it had had “positive discussions” with essential retailers, representative groups and unions over the rules.

Stock covered in plastic sheeting at a Sainsbury's store in Cardiff, Wales on October 27

Stock covered in plastic sheeting at a Sainsbury’s store in Cardiff, Wales on October 27

Ho ho not: Noël

Ho ho no: Christmas items with duct tape on them in a Home Bargains store in Cardiff Bay

Basic commodities required for the preparation and consumption of food and drink can also be sold. Products for washing clothes and cleaning and maintaining the home, including batteries, light bulbs and fuel, are permitted.

The mother “could not buy essential toys for her autistic son due to government rules”

Chelsi Downes and her two year old son

Chelsi Downes and her two year old son

A mother said she was unable to purchase essential toys for her autistic son due to government rules on selling “non-essential” items.

Chelsi Downes, of Culverhouse Cross, said she was unable to take her son to the supermarket due to the stress of not being able to buy sensory toys such as Play-Doh.

Her two-year-old son Nicky is autistic and non-verbal and Chelsi said he relies on toys such as popular play dough to communicate.

However, Welsh government guidelines on selling ‘non-essential’ items mean she has not been able to purchase Play-Doh – an item she considers essential for her family – while shopping. in supermarkets.

Supermarkets in Wales have been barred from selling ‘non-essential’ items such as clothing, household items and toys, in line with Welsh government restrictions introduced as part of the firewalls lockdown that has started at 6 p.m. on Friday 23 October.

Prime Minister Mark Drakeford said the measure would help create a ‘level playing field’ for other businesses that had been forced to shut down, but there was some opposition to the measures, with protests in supermarkets and a petition.

The rules have changed tonight, with a new list of items that can be sold and a clarification that people can ask to buy certain items “by exception”. It is not yet clear if this will allow Chelsi to buy Play-Doh for her son from now on.

Chelsi, a mother of two, believes the Welsh government has failed to take into account the detrimental effects its policy could have on children with disabilities.

“Children with autism have very specific sensory needs. Normal items for us like paper are huge for them, ”she said.

“Each different element is a different feeling for them, it’s different meanings. It really helps development. For Nicky, Play-Doh is her way of communicating.

“He is non-verbal and therefore without his sensory element, he will not do anything and cannot communicate. He won’t eat without it, he won’t sleep without it, there is no communication there.

“I am so angry. This system puts people at risk. How does my son want Play-Doh – something that is important to his development – considered “non-essential” when you see some of the other things being sold.

Supermarkets can sell toiletries and cosmetics, including rolls of toilet paper and hygiene products, as well as pharmaceuticals and baby products including equipment, clothing, and diapers.

Newspapers and magazines are allowed, as are stationery and greeting cards, pet food and other pet supplies, as well as bicycle and car maintenance products.

Earlier Tuesday, retailers called for the ban to be relaxed to allow customers “to make their own decisions.”

More than 67,000 people have signed a petition to the Welsh Parliament calling for the ban on non-essential items to be immediately lifted.

A spokesperson said the government had “made it clear that a sane system should be introduced” in which customers can request to purchase non-essential items as an exception under the regulations.

“We hope this will provide a viable solution for retailers and customers,” he said.

“However, we cannot deviate from the central principle that retailers must restrict the sale of non-essential products during the life of the firewall.

“We continue to work closely with the industry and stress that these restrictions are in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.

“We ask the public to continue to support the effort by limiting unnecessary travel and shopping. “

Groups representing supermarkets have made a series of recommendations to Welsh ministers following confusion over what can and cannot be sold during the 17-day firewall period.

In a joint statement by CBI Wales, the Welsh Retail Consortium and the Association of Convenience Stores, they called on the Welsh government to accept proposals to ‘resolve the confusion’.

“We recommend that the individual customer be allowed to make their own decision as to whether a product is not essential or not, taking into account reviews posted throughout the store and their immediate needs,” they said.

“If the customer proceeds with the purchase of the item, the final responsibility must lie with the customer. “

This would mean that non-essential items would not be taken off the shelves or tied up.

Instead, big notices would be placed in front of products and in common areas informing shoppers of Welsh government regulations.

In-store announcements and social media posts could be used to advise customers to postpone purchasing non-essential items, the statement suggests.

Retailers could also remove special in-store promotional displays of non-essential items to minimize shipping time and “avoid triggering a non-essential purchase.”

Wales Health Minister Vaughan Gething said on Monday it would be clear supermarkets could use their own discretion to sell non-essential items to those “who really need them”.

He told a press conference that he was “very saddened” to hear of an exchange involving Tesco on Twitter, in which it was wrongly suggested that sanitary products were not essential and not could not be sold.

It later emerged that an aisle selling the items at a Cardiff store had been cordoned off to allow a police investigation following a burglary.

The Welsh government has said the rules are intended both to limit the transmission of the coronavirus and to be fair to non-essential retailers who had to shut down during the firewall.

The Welsh government has said the rules are intended both to limit the transmission of the coronavirus and to be fair for non-essential retailers who had to shut down during the firewall (Photo: Wales Premier Mark Drakeford)

The Welsh government has said the rules are intended both to limit the transmission of the coronavirus and to be fair to non-essential retailers who had to shut down during the firewall (pictured: Wales Premier Mark Drakeford)

A sign under a Captain Tom book at an ASDA store in Leck with reputable items "not essential" cannot be sold

A sign under a Captain Tom book in an ASDA store in Leck stating that items deemed “non-essential” cannot be sold

Blocked aisles at a B&M store on October 27, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales

Blocked aisles at a B&M store on October 27, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales

Shopping aisles are surrounded by plastic sheeting at a Newport store as Wales enters first week of a week "firewall" lockdown in an attempt to protect the country's NHS from being overwhelmed by the coronavirus resurgence

Shopping aisles are surrounded by plastic sheeting at a Newport store as Wales enters the first week of a two-week ‘firewall’ lockdown in a bid to protect the country’s NHS to be overwhelmed by the resurgence of the coronavirus

As part of the firewall lockdown, which began at 6 p.m. Friday, non-essential stores including clothing stores, furniture stores and car dealerships are closed.

Stores selling multiple types of products can stay open but can only sell essential items.

Another 1,207 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 45,046.

Public Health Wales said seven people with Covid-19 have died, with the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic rising to 1,790.

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