COVID-19: Welsh supermarkets reopen ‘non-essential’ aisles as coronavirus lockdown easing continues

Shoppers in Welsh supermarkets can now buy non-essential goods again as it takes its next step in easing lockdown.

Supermarkets have been barred from selling goods such as clothes, books and toys since Christmas Eve, when all non-essential shops had to close as strict COVID rules came in.

But now aisles that were off limits and items that were covered up are back in business.

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From today, garden centres in Wales are also allowed to trade for the first time in 2021.

Wales is cautiously emerging from Level 4 restrictions and the “stay local” requirement which sets a “rule of thumb” limit of about five miles will be lifted on 27 March, allowing people to travel anywhere within Wales.

Self-contained holiday accommodation is planned to open from the same date, while libraries and organised children’s activities also get the green light.

Authorities have warned business not to take Easter bookings from people in England – which is following a different roadmap that means holiday firms there cannot open until 12 April.

The Welsh government says the changes could be reversed or slowed down if infections increase.

All shops and close contact services can get back in business from 12 April in Wales – the same day as England – while schools and colleges are also set to fully return.

On 22 April, gyms, leisure centres, outdoor hospitality and attractions, and weddings will be permitted – but only if COVID case rates continue to show progress.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said last week: “We are now entering a critical phase in the pandemic.

“We can see light at the end of the tunnel as we approach the end of a long and hard second wave, thanks to the amazing efforts of scientists and researchers across the world to develop effective vaccines.

“Our amazing vaccination programme has made vaccines available to people in the most at-risk groups at incredible speed.”

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