Bira expressed its angry at the Welsh Government’s U-turn on the classification of homewares last week, just two days before the implementation of its ‘fire-break’ lockdown (from October 23 to November 9).
Earlier last week Bira was told that homewares retailers were ‘essential’, as they had been during the countrywide lockdown earlier this year. However, on Wednesday night (October 23), the Welsh Government notified the association that the category was now classed as ‘non-essential.’
Bira’s ceo Andrew Goodacre has criticised the lack of clarity and short notice for homewares retailers that had been under the impression that they could carry on meeting the needs of their communities.
Since Wales started its lockdown last Friday (October 23), consumers have protested against the Welsh Government’s ban on the sale of non-essential products in supermarkets. Yesterday (October 27), the Government released a new list of products classified as ‘essential’, which now includes ‘basic products necessary to prepare and eat food and drink,’ along with ‘disposable items used for the preparation and storage of food (such as kitchen foil, food bags and cling film).’
The Welsh Government said they were hopeful the new list “provides a workable solution for retailers and customers”. Its ban on sales of homewares in supermarkets during lockdown is intended to help sales for non-essential retailers when they reopen, although as many observers have pointed out, it is also likely to result in online sales of homewares during the lockdown period.
Top: A homewares display at Vincent Davies, Haverfordwest, which is currently closed for Wales ‘fire-break’ lockdown.