Tesco apologises after wrongly saying it can’t sell tampons in Wales
Tesco has apologised after wrongly claiming it could not sell sanitary products in Wales because of a ban on “non-essential” goods.
The supermarket giant told a Twitter user who was refused sanitary pads that “we have been told by the Welsh Government not to sell these items”.
But it rowed back minutes later after the Welsh Government made clear sanitary pads and tampons are allowed – along with anything else normally sold in a pharmacy.
Tesco apologised, agreed tampons could be sold after all, and claimed the Twitter user who was unable to buy pads suffered “an isolated incident in one store, where an area was cordoned off that should not have been”.
It comes as Wales’ Labour government faces mounting anger over the “non-essential goods” policy during a two-and-a-half-week ‘fire-break’ lockdown.
Non-essential shops in Wales have been closed like in the first UK-wide lockdown in March.
But unlike the first lockdown, shops that remain open have been explicitly banned from selling “non-essential” goods.
That prompted supermarkets across Wales to put up barriers and plastic screening across forbidden products.
The policy prompted a storm with critics saying it would drive people into web giants like Amazon, and be impossible for small corner shops to enforce.
Meanwhile baby clothes in supermarkets have been screened from view while alcohol continues to be sold freely.
Wales’ Health Minister could mount a U-turn when he gives a press conference at 12.15pm today.
The latest row erupted when Twitter user @kt1515123 complained to Tesco.
She said: “Can you explain why I was told today that I can’t buy PERIOD PADS as I’m sure they are essential to women?!!!
“But I can buy alcohol it doesn’t make sense”.
Tesco replied: “Hi Katie. We understand how frustrating these changes will be for our Welsh customers.
“However, we have been told by the Welsh Government not to sell these items for the duration of the firebreak lockdown.”
The Welsh government then intervened on Twitter, saying: “This is wrong – period products are essential.
“Supermarkets can still sell items that can be sold in pharmacies.
“Only selling essential items during firebreak is to discourage spending more time than necessary in shops. It should not stop you accessing items that you need.”
Welsh government guidance says supermarkets and other big stores can continue to sell goods that would be available in the following:
Tesco later tweeted: “Good Morning Katie – thanks for getting in touch and please accept my apologies for the confusion caused by my colleagues’ earlier reply.
“This is a response we’re using when challenged on products that we have been asked to restrict by the Welsh government.
“However, clearly sanitary products are an essential purchase and I’m so sorry to see that one of our stores has them restricted at the moment.
“Can you please DM us to let me know when you were in store and which store this was, so I can look in to this further.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “Of course sanitary products are essential items and are available to customers in all of our stores, including those in Wales.
“The reply to this customer was sent by mistake and we’re very sorry for any confusion caused.”
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