These were the scenes in Wales as Christmas shoppers lined up to get into supermarkets after Covid rules tightened.
On Saturday, December 19, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced Wales would move into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions earlier than originally planned.
The restrictions came into force on Sunday, December 20 and meant the closure of all non-essential retail. On Saturday evening, hours after the announcement and hours before the restrictions came into force, there were massive queues at shops like Smyths toy store. Read our article here.
Supermarkets can stay open and the Welsh Government has listed what they can and can’t sell while the country remains in level four.
Supermarkets have had to cordon off areas selling non-essential items if they are “clearly separate” from other essential goods.
On Monday, just four days away from Christmas, shoppers could be seen queueing to get into supermarkets in Wales despite non-essentials, including toys, being tapped up.
Other areas, such as shopping centres, seemed eerily quiet for the time of year.
At Tesco at Western Avenue, the queueing lanes were full the the brim with customers.
The supermarket handed shoppers red and blue umbrellas as they waited in the downpours to go inside.
At Llanishen retail park in Cardiff, shoppers came in their droves to do some Christmas shopping at the Marks and Spencer food hall.
They queued from the door right through the car park.
Similarly at Marks and Spencer at Culverhouse Cross there were lots of people queueing for essential items and the photograph below captures the scene around 4pm.
The Welsh Government’s list of items classed as ‘essential’ and able to be sold at these shops includes:
- Food and drink
- Disposable items used for the preparation and storage of food (such as kitchen foil, food bags and cling film) but also products necessary to prepare, eat and store food
- Products for washing clothes and for cleaning homes, including batteries, light bulbs and fuel
- Toiletries, personal care and cosmetic products, including toilet rolls and sanitary products
- Pharmaceutical products
- Baby products and clothes
- Newspapers and magazines
- Stationery and greetings cards
- Pet food and supplies
- Products for the maintenance of bikes and cars
- Services for the repair and maintenance of mobile or IT devices
Supermarkets in Wales can also sell any items that would generally be sold in small shops such as convenience stores, corner shops and off licences.