A SHOP workers' union has urged people in Wales to treat staff with respect, as opposition continues to a ban on the sale of 'non-essential' items.

Many shoppers have been frustrated by the rule, introduced by the Welsh Government as part of the 'fire break' lockdown restrictions, in force until Monday, November 9.

Supermarkets must limit their sales to 'essential' items like food during this period – the Welsh Government's aims are to limit browsing opportunities and to protect other 'non-essential' retailers forced to close during the lockdown.

But the ban has divided opinion generated a backlash, even prompting a handful of incidents across Wales where people have gone to extreme lengths to show their opposition to the ban.

A petition asking ministers to overturn the ban has gained more than 63,000 signatures in its first 72 hours.


Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) said shop workers were simply following the Welsh Government's 'essential' items rule, which had been set following advice from the chief medical officer to bring down the rate of coronavirus transmission.

“Retailers and shopworkers are working extremely hard to comply with the guidance," Usdaw division officer Nick Ireland told the Argus.

“I urge shoppers not to take their frustrations out on hard working shopworkers who have been working throughout the pandemic to ensure the nation’s food and medicine supply.

I ask all customers to wear a face covering and keep following social distancing measures. Please remember that shop workers are doing their best in a difficult situation and to always treat them with the respect they deserve.”

Today (Monday), the Welsh Government is due to review the way the 'essential' items rule has been implemented and to improve clarity over the rule.

Health minister Vaughan Gething also said some 'essential' items can be bought in "exceptional circumstances".