A Tesco shopper in Wales was told she couldn’t buy sanitary products due to lockdown rules - here’s what happened

A shopper in Wales was left furious after being left unable to buy sanitary products in Tesco, with the latest lockdown restrictions banning the selling of non-essential items in supermarkets.

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Taking to Twitter, the user, called Katie, said, “@Tesco can you explain why I was told today that I can’t buy PERIOD PADS as I'm sure they are essential to women?!! But I can buy alcohol, it doesn’t make sense.”

Tesco had originally responded to the user’s tweet saying, “Hi Katie. We understand how frustrating these changes will be for our Welsh customers. However, we have been told by the Welsh Government not to sell these items for the duration of the firebreak lockdown.”

However, the Welsh Government went to Twitter to clarify, calling period products an essential item.

Replying to Tesco’s reply the government said, “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.”

Tesco’s original reply was deleted following the response by the Welsh Government.

Tesco apology over mistaken reply

Tesco has apologised for wrongly claiming it could not sell sanitary products because of the ban on non-essential goods.

Having investigated why the area was closed off, Tesco have clarified that the area was cordoned off due to a break-in, while it was investigated by Police. 

A Tesco spokesperson said, ”Sanitary products are essential items and are available to customers in all of our stores in Wales. Due to a break-in, this area was closed temporarily in one store for a Police investigation, but is now open again. The reply to this customer, which implied these products were non-essential, was sent by mistake and we’re very sorry for any confusion caused.”

Rules banning non-essential items

The Welsh government banned shops from selling non-essential items on Friday 23 October, as part of new lockdown restrictions in the country.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said it would be “made clear” to supermarkets that only parts of their businesses selling “essential goods” will be allowed to open.

Retailers in Wales before the weekend had said they had not been given a definition of what was considered “essential”, with the Association of Convenience Stores and the Welsh Retail Consortium writing to the First Minister expressing alarm over the regulations.

Head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, Sara Jones, said, “Compelling retailers to stop selling certain items, without them being told clearly what is and what isn't permitted to be sold, is ill-conceived and short-sighted.”

The Welsh government said on 25 October that it is to review how the ban on selling non-essential items is working, with the First Minister explaining that this is to ensure “common sense is applied.”