The government of Wales has received more than they bargained for after ordering supermarkets not to sell ‘non-essential’ goods… like clothing, books, phones and lots of other things that many people just can’t live without.
Customers of large retailers in Wales were greeted on Saturday with rows upon rows of shelves covered with plastic sheets or crisscrossed with tape. The businesses didn’t have much choice in the matter – they had to comply with new government guidelines meant to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Wales went into a 17-day “firebreak shutdown” on Friday evening, during which non-essential businesses will remain closed. And if a small shop cannot sell clothes, apparently neither can a giant retailer. That is because the government has to “maintain a level playing field” and not allow people “browsing around supermarkets looking for non-essential goods”, as First Minister Mark Drakeford put it. So, if you planned to buy warm clothes for your baby ahead of sub-zero-temperature weather, tough luck – order something online.
Wales have truly taken this second lockdown too far. Blocking off & sealing up “non essential” items in all stores so all we can buy is food. We can’t read, we can’t write, we can’t buy clothes, no birthday cards.. nothing 😳 pic.twitter.com/fcJdX8e6G0
— my sweet coco🕊 (@mysweetkoko) October 23, 2020
Naturally, many were not amused, and pounced on Drakeford and the Welsh Labour Party for coming up with the new rules. During Britain’s first national lockdown this spring, most small businesses were shuttered too, but supermarkets were allowed to sell their regular stock as usual.
“Essential goods only.”First Minister of Wales bans the sale of non-essential items during lockdown.Who gets to decide what is “essential”?Dictatorship, drunk on power.
— Carl Vernon (@RealCarlVernon) October 23, 2020
Some even tried to defy the ban, or advocated non-compliance through their actions.
Welsh lad ripping down the plastic in a supermarket. We need more heroes like this, instead of the idiots in the senedd making ridiculous country destroying rules. pic.twitter.com/C8j0zI6TOD
— Jackie Goode (@JackieGoode5) October 24, 2020
Others responded with somewhat morbid humor, ridiculing the new measures or suggesting how they could be circumvented.