The countrywide lockdown is coming into effect tomorrow, Thursday 5th November, and according to The Grocer, the government has told retailers to cordon off ‘non-essential’ items. The ban will not go as far as Wales’, but the government has told retailers large sections of non-essential items should be cordoned off if found in separate areas of the store, according to reports.
If located in ‘mixed aisles’, supermarkets can sell non-essential goods as normal. The move may cause confusion and frustrating, and supermarket bosses have raised concern that it could lead to a similar backlash as in Wales.
A source involved in the talks told The Grocer: “The government has said that they are not going to force retailers to shut down all non-essential goods similar to what happened in Wales.
“However, those stores which have specific areas of so-called non-essential goods will have to cordon them off… They will not have to close off aisles where there is a mix.”
This would mean supermarket clothing departments, including Asda with its George units, clothes departments in M&S food and F&F in Tesco, will be cordoned off due to new rules on non-essential items coming into play Thursday.
A source said: “Retailers understand that restrictions are going to come into play but what they are very keen to do is to avoid confusion and scenes like we had in Wales when retailers and their staff were having to explain to shoppers why they couldn’t buy baby clothes.”
A number of popular home improvement and general convenience stores have announced that they’ll be staying open during lockdown – with the UK government deeming them “essential stores”. B&M, Wilko and Home Bargain announced they would all be staying open during lockdown.