Stricter Covid supermarket rules being considered in Wales

Related Topics
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Welsh Government is in discussions about bringing in "more visible" coronavirus regulations.

Stricter enforcement of coronavirus rules could return to supermarkets in Wales, Mark Drakeford has said.

The first minister said he had heard concerns from people "expressing anxiety" about a lack of "visible protections" in supermarkets.

The Welsh Government is now in talks with stores about social-distancing measures.

Mr Drakeford said he wanted to see stores policed as they were during the first lockdown.

Among the measures previously used was a strict limit of the numbers of people allowed in a store however Mr Drakeford said people were worried the rules "don't appear to be there this time".

"Given the fact the new variant is so much easier to catch... we are looking at supermarkets and other places where people leave their homes, to make sure they are organised in a way that keeps their staff and customers safe," he said.

He said previously sanitising arrangements had been "very visible", one-way markings were prominently displayed, regular reminders were announced to customers and staff were also posted at the front entrance of supermarkets

"That person was carefully controlling the numbers of people going in, to make sure that they were no more than a certain number of people in the store at any one time," he said.

"There was somebody directing people to the checkout, to make sure people weren't queuing next to each other over prolonged periods, and markings on the floor so people kept at a two-metre distance".

However the first minister said some of those measures are no longer as apparent to people.

"I want to make sure that those visible signs of the protections that are being offered to the public and the shop workers are in place again."

Federation of Small Businesses Wales said has called for clarity on what support would be available and the possible new measures required of shops.

Policy Chair, Ben Francis, said: "We've already asked to see more information on the technical data that informs the decisions that Welsh Government are making.

"It seems clear that businesses will require funding support for longer than was originally anticipated if they are to survive this troubling period.

"Welsh Government should urgently give clarity on what additional funding will be made available to support businesses beyond this next three week period to allow them to plan."