Large supermarkets are closing off parts of stores to limit access to ‘non-essentials’

Large supermarkets are reportedly closing off parts of their stores following updated government guidance amid England’s lockdown.

The news comes after England entered its second coronavirus lockdown on Thursday.

The government originally stated that supermarkets will stay open during the month-long lockdown but issued further guidance on Friday – stating which retailers in England are considered essential and what they are permitted to sell.

Since then, several supermarkets have began closing areas in stores which are deemed as “non-essential”.

One of these supermarkets is Tesco, and the move hasn’t gone down well with some shoppers, who took to Twitter over the weekend to make their frustrations known.

It’s worth noting that Tesco is advising that staff will help people get what they want if they ask at customer services.

A spokesperson for the supermarket giant said: “In line with new government guidance in England which requires the closure of separate floors selling non-food items, we have closed the Clothing and General Merchandise departments in our stores that sell these products from a separate mezzanine level.”

The guidance from the UK government said: “Where a business has sufficiently distinct parts, and one section provides essential retail and one section provides non-essential retail, the non-essential sections should close to limit interactions between customers and the opportunity for the disease to spread.

“Sufficiently distinct sections might involve operating in separate buildings, across separate floors, a door between sections, using separate cashiers, or another clear demarcation between sections.

“For example a food shop may stay open, but a homeware section on a separate floor or separate building should close.”

The guidance adds that shops are not required to cordon off particular aisles, and that “a business selling a significant amount of essential retail may also continue to sell goods typically sold at non-essential retail”.

Tom Ironside, director of business and regulations at the BRC, said: “The retail industry has invested hundreds of millions of pounds to make stores safe and secure for customers and we don’t believe that any retailers should be required to close.

“The new regulations create arbitrary lines over what is and isn’t an ‘essential’ retailer.

“Unfortunately for many people, this means they cannot visit shops to get the items that are essential to them, from the home office equipment and electronics they need for work, or the pots, pans, fridges and freezers they need during lockdown.”

Are you confused about the new lockdown rules and regulations? Let us know.

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