Wales to review lockdown restrictions after pads and tampons not deemed "essential"
“This is wrong – period products are essential."
The Welsh government is set to review lockdown restrictions after pads and tampons were mistakenly deemed "non-essential" by Tesco.
Minister for Health Vaughan Gething has said that better communication is needed regarding the sale of non-essential items during lockdown following confusion around whether Tesco was permitted to sell period products.
Pads and tampons are, of course, essential items that most women will purchase at some point over the course of their life, and yet, Tesco mistakenly told a customer via Twitter that the products could not be sold under the country's latest restrictions.
“We have been told by the Welsh Government not to sell these items for the duration of the firebreak lockdown," they said on Twitter, when a customer asked why she had been told she couldn't buy pads in the store.
The retailer later apologised and said that the tweet was sent "by mistake."
The Welsh government was quick to respond to Tesco's tweet, stating: “This is wrong – period products are essential.
“Supermarkets can still sell items that can be sold in pharmacies. Only selling essential items during firebreak is to discourage spending more time than necessary in shops. It should not stop you accessing items that you need.”
All non-essential shops must close under Wales' current Covid restrictions. However, stores selling various items can remain open, but must only sell items deemed essential.
Health minister Gething has since said that the government will “continue to learn lessons” on how best to communicate restrictions to retailers. He added that he was "very saddened" to see Tesco's exchange on Twitter.
“It’s an incorrect reading of the regulations and the guidance. I am very sorry that this woman was given this information," he said.
"If there are anomalies, we will look at whether the guidance needs to be revised or strengthened, to make it clear that supermarkets have some discretion to sell to people who are in genuine need.”
Gething added that customers with “exceptional circumstances” should be permitted to purchase non-essential items. He suggested that such shoppers could make their needs known "discreetly" to staff.