Toys have been caught up in a sweep of ‘non-essential- items blocked off from sale across some of Wales’ supermarket retailers after the country’s government introduced level four restrictions over the weekend.
With just days before a Christmas like non other, the Welsh Government announced on December 19 that the country would enter a level four system of restrictions amid the fight against the ongoing spread of the coronavirus.
The move came into effect just as large areas across the South, South East and East of England was moved into tier four restrictions, shuttering non-essential retailers, imposing travel restrictions, and inciting a move from a number of EU countries to impose their own 48 hour travel bans on anyone coming from the UK.
Wales’ restrictions came into force at midnight on Sunday, December 20 and meant the closure of all non-essential retail. Supermarkets in the country can stay open, but the Welsh Government has listed what they can and can’t sell while they remain in level four.
Images have emerged of toy aisles in an Asda supermarket in Cardiff Bay being blocked off, alongside Christmas decorations, gifts, and candles.
Listing what can and can not be sold at supermarkets in Wales, the Welsh Government said: “In large supermarkets, in most cases it will be clear that certain sections of the store must be cordoned off or emptied, and closed to the public.
“Where there are distinct parts of a store selling (for example) electrical goods, clothes, toys, games, or products for the garden, these should be closed to the public – and these products should not be sold.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said that while toys can not be sold in supermarkets, cards, wrapping paper and other stationary items are allowed.
He added: “We know the speed at which the alert level four measures had to be brought in will have been frustrating for people hoping to complete their Christmas preparations over the coming days.
“This action was necessary in the face of worrying new information about the fast-moving mutated strain of the virus which is circulating in Wales and the increasing pressure on our NHS.”
Reports on the move from Wales Online have drawn ire from a population of consumers who were yet to complete their Christmas shopping lists, while others have said that the ban will do little to ease the exodus to online shopping through platforms like Amazon.
Meanwhile, other commentators have been less critical, welcoming the move as one to better level the playing field for non-essential retailers such as toy shops, who have been forced to once again close their doors at the height of a the year’s peak trading season.