Tesco told a customer who says she was “desperate” for a new bra for work it had been told it could not sell these items while Wales was in lockdown.
For several weeks now, supermarkets in Wales have only been able to sell “essential” items. These include food, sanitary products, baby items, pharmaceutical goods, toiletries and ‘personal care’ items.
The Welsh Government has, however, banned the sale of certain products, including clothing and toys. The rules mean people in specific circumstances continue to find themselves in difficult situations. One customer asked Tesco if she could buy a new bra, North Wales Live reports, tweeting: “Wales has stopped people from buying clothes from your stores, but I’m in desperate need for a new bra for work. Am I allowed to purchase a set?”
The supermarket responded on Twitter this morning by saying that it had been told “not to sell these items”.
However, it went on to explain that the customer could put forward a case at their local store to be exempted from the restrictions.
Tesco said: “We understand how frustrating these changes are for our Welsh customers. However, we have been told by the Welsh Government not to sell these items for the duration of the lockdown. It would be a case of popping into your local Tesco store and seeing if my colleagues are able to help.”
Wales has now passed several of the key Alert Level 4 markers, with the testing positivity rate falling below 10%, the R number dropping to between 0.7 and 0.9 and an infection rate of 115 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people in Wales — you can read more on this and the Welsh Government’s latest reaction to it here.
Although the current restrictions ban the general sale of ‘non-essential’ items such as clothing and electrical goods, the Welsh Government’s guidance states that there are exceptions to this rule and that supermarket customers may still be able to buy banned items during lockdown “if they are needed in an emergency or on compassionate grounds”.
Get our best stories straight to your inbox every day
Sign up to the WalesOnline newsletter to receive our top stories straight to your inbox.
It takes just seconds to sign up – simply click here, enter your email address and follow the instructions. You can also subscribe to tailored content for rugby, politics, Swansea, Newport, Cardiff City FC, Swansea City FC and more.
Changed your mind? There’s an ‘unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of every newsletter we send out.
Examples listed in the guidance include replacing a broken microwave or kettle, as well as replacing “outgrown or heavily worn products” such as children’s clothes or shoes.
Customers who wish to purchase an item restricted until Alert Level 4 rules must “request” to purchase such in store, though retailers themselves aren’t required to ask for evidence of an emergency.
The guidance states that in such circumstances, “the onus […] is on customers to comply with the law by having a reasonable reason to leave home to purchase the product”, not on retailer’s to conduct checks.
When approached for comment by North Wales Live, a spokesperson for the Welsh Government also reminded that all retailers can offer click and collect – or similar services – during the current lockdown.
Retailers are expected to enforce “reasonable measures” on such services, including social distancing, staggered collection times as well as introducing pick-up and drop-off points to reduce contact.
Should the customer simply be allowed to buy a bra? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.