Tesco and Sainsbury 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.
The supermarkets have implemented the measures in response to Government guidance, which instructed shops to close any “sufficiently distinct parts” selling non-essential items.
The Tesco stores in question blocked off a whole floor dedicated to clothing and home furnishings.
A Tesco spokesperson 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.
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.