Wales has entered a 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown in a bid to halt the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country.

People can leave home for limited reasons, such as to buy food and medication, provide care, exercise or to work if they cannot do so from home.

Welsh people are being told they can only purchase ‘essential items’ in stores, and supermarkets are physically blocking non-essential aisles.

But what products are considered ‘essential’?

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What is considered an ‘essential item’ in Wales?

Wales generally classes ‘essential items’ as food, drink, medical supplies, hygiene products, and vehicles.

The products and services which are classed as ‘essential’ and can be sold (or hired out) in stores are any products which would normally be sold in:



However, other products such as clothes, tech, and toys can still be sold through delivery services, online, by telephone or mail order.

The rules on the Welsh government’s website states: ‘Businesses which would normally sell a range of products in their stores may only sell those items which fall into the categories above.

‘This is likely to mean some areas of stores should be closed to customer access. It will be important though for such stores to manage access to different categories of goods in a way that ensures customers and staff can circulate safely within the store.

‘Some products may need to remain available to avoid creating unnecessary constraints on a mixed product aisle to the safe circulation of customers.’

Supermarkets have been told not to sell ‘non-essential items’ like clothes or hardware, as per the shops that are being requested to close.

This is due to criticism that doing so would disadvantage specialised independent retailers.

Is alcohol considered an ‘essential item’ in Wales?

Alcohol is permitted to be sold, but it comes with some restrictions.

You are not allowed to buy alcohol after 10pm either in a physical shop or receive alcohol in your online shop if it is after 10pm.

This is in line with the country’s existing 10pm curfew on alcohol, which banned the sale of it in not just hospitality venues, but also in off-licenses.

What stores are allowed to stay open in Wales?

Food shops and off-licences are among the shops that have been allowed to stay open, but other stores like clothing retailers had to close.

The list of exceptions during the firebreak lockdown includes:

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