// Supermarkets shut off parts of stores following government advice to limit access to “non-essentials”
// Follows updated guidance on which retailers in England are considered essential and what they are permitted to sell
Tesco and Sainsbury’s have reportedly closed off parts of their stores that are deemed as “non-essential” following updated government guidance amid England’s lockdown.
The country entered its second and month-long lockdown on Thursday, but it wasn’t the following day that the government issued further guidance on which retailers in England are considered essential and what they are permitted to sell.
Shoppers have since taken to Twitter to complain to Tesco and Sainsbury’s about not being able to access clothes and other parts of their shops across England.
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“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,” a Tesco spokesperson said.
It comes after news emerged yesterday that Marks & Spencer had been forced to shut off clothing and home areas within its stores that also sell food.
This equated to over half of its non-food selling space and more than it initially thought it would have to shut down before the lockdown started.
The updated guidance stipulates that shops in England that have “sufficiently distinct parts” should close the areas selling non-essential items.
For example, grocery retailers can sell “non-essential” homeware if it is stocked on its aisles, but if the goods are on a separate floor, it must close off the area.
However, the guidance adds that shops are not required to cordon off particular aisles, which it what sparked the recent controversy in Wales when it went into a 17-day “firebreak” lockdown last month.