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Thousands sign online petition against Welsh supermarket ban on selling ‘non-essential goods’

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THOUSANDS of people in Wales have signed an online petition calling on the Senedd to intervene to allow supermarkets to be allowed to sell ‘all non-essential items’ during Wales’ 17-day-long ‘Fire-break’ lockdown.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said supermarkets should stop selling items such as clothes as a matter of “fairness” to smaller retailers who have been asked to shut, until 9 November.

On Thursday (Oct 22), the Welsh Government confirmed that supermarkets would be told not to sell non-essential goods, like clothes, toys, decorations and electrical items during the 17-day firebreak.

Supermarkets have covered over shelves selling ‘non-essentials’

The online petition against the non-essential goods ban, which was created by Wales resident Gareth Howell, reads: “The Welsh Government, as part of its 17 day “firebreak” lockdown, is banning the selling of non-essential goods from shops that are allowed to remain open. We do not agree that this is a prudent or rational measure, and will create more harm than good.
“We do not agree for example that parents should be barred from buying clothes for their children during lockdown while out shopping. This is disproportionate and cruel and we ask that the decision be reversed immediately.”
The petition follows calls from the Welsh Conservatives to end the policy. They have called banning certain items in supermarkets ‘ludicrous’.

Andrew RT Davies has called on Labour’s health minister to intervene.

Ban is ludicrous, says Andrew RT Davies

He said: “Anger is growing across Wales at the decision from the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, and shoppers have condemned the decision arguing that items such as books, electronics, clothing, and bedding are essential.

“I have never witnessed such a fierce backlash against a decision from the Welsh Labour Government.

“This ludicrous ban has caused real anger across Wales and it’s not fair on those staff working in our supermarkets, and the general Welsh public who are already at their wit’s end with a difficult fortnight looming.

“Whilst the First Minister might not be for turning, the health minister Vaughan Gething must surely acknowledge the damage this will do to public confidence and I ask him intervene and tell Mark Drakeford and his colleagues that this has to be dropped immediately.”

Guidance published for retailers on the Welsh Government’s website says aisles selling homeware and decorations, toys, mobile phones, clothes and games, should be “closed to the public”, and some areas may need to be cordoned off.

Speaking at Friday’s Welsh Government briefing, Mr Drakeford said the decision to stop supermarkets from selling all but essential items was based on a “need for fair play”.

“I’m not prepared to treat small businesses in Wales in one way, requiring them to close – they are not able to earn a living during these two weeks, as part of our national efforts – and then simply because another sector in society are more powerful, are bigger, that they think that they can be treated differently.

“It is a straightforward matter of fairness, we are in this together here in Wales.

“No individual and no organisation is above the effort that we are all required to make.”

At the time of publishing this article the petition had reached 17,551 signatures.

You can find the petition here.

Greetings cards are non essential items, says Mark Drakeford

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Police appeal after man found dead near Kilgetty roundabout

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POLICE in Pembrokeshire are  investigating the sudden death of a man in Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire.

The man, aged in his 60s, is often seen on or near Kilgetty roundabout. Concerns for his welfare were raised this morning (Saturday, Nov 28) and sadly, a body was found near the Kilgetty roundabout a short while later.

Police said: “Anyone with information that could help piece together the circumstances surrounding his death, which is being treated as unexplained, is asked to contact police.

“Though formal identification has not yet taken place, the man’s next of kin has been informed. HM Coroner is also aware.

“Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DP-20201128-076.”

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Garage planning appeal dismissed

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A PLANNING inspector has upheld a Pembrokeshire County Council decision to refuse planning permission for a detached garage.

The Inspector dismissed the appeal by Mr Peter Baker against the Council’s decision to refuse the proposed development at Amroth Road, Ludchurch.

Planning Inspector J P Tudor agreed that the development would cause unacceptable harm on the character and appearance of the area.

The planned garage was to be placed in front of a detached bungalow.

Other properties nearby generally have garages situated to the side or rear or integrated into the main building.

The Inspector said: “Given its size and position, the garage would appear prominent in public views along the highway and be noticeable from neighbouring properties. It would compromise the existing sense of space and openness to the front of most dwellings.

“Therefore, the development would have an adverse effect on the character an appearance of the area.”

The appeal was dismissed.

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New guidelines for hospital visiting during Coronavirus outbreak

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NEW revised NHS Wales hospital visiting guidance during the coronavirus outbreak will be published on Monday 30 November 2020. This supersedes previously published guidance.

The revised guidance sets out the baseline for visiting in Wales during the pandemic, but allows health boards, trusts and hospices to have more flexibility to depart from the guidance.

This flexibility is due to the changing picture of coronavirus transmission across Wales, with significant variations in community transmission across different parts of the country and differences in the rate of nosocomial transmission.

The new guidelines allow health care providers to asses local factors and work with local infection prevention and control teams and Public Health Wales when agreeing visiting arrangements.

Healthcare providers may depart from the guidance in response to:

  • rising levels of covid-19 transmission in their localities, including levels which result in a national lockdown and/or evidence of nosocomial transmission in a particular setting; or
  • falling levels of transmission in their local area.

In addition to allowing for this flexibility the revised guidance has been amended for maternity services after listening to feedback from women and families and consulting with Heads of Midwifery and Sonography/Radiography Services. Visiting in maternity services will now be based on a risk assessment approach by health boards. This will take into consideration local environmental factors such as room sizes, ability to socially distance and infection prevention and control risks in enabling partners to safely accompany pregnant women and new mothers. This risk assessed approach should be taken in collaboration with relevant health professionals, local infection prevention and control teams and Public Health Wales. All women will be supported to have at least one partner with them during active labour, birth and for the period immediately after the birth, except in an extremely limited number of circumstances.

The updated guidelines also recognise that some people may require an essential support assistant for specific additional support eg a support worker or interpreter. Essential support assistants will not to be classed as visitors, in some circumstances, where people receive care and support from a family member or partner, they may nominate this person as their essential support assistant.

Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething, said: “We recognise that the restrictions on visiting has a huge impact on patients, their families and loves ones. We have announced further changes to the guidelines today to provide health boards, trusts and hospices with flexibility to depart from the guidelines in response to local levels of Covid-19 transmission. It is important to remember that the virus has not gone away and the health, safety and wellbeing of patients, communities and NHS staff remains an absolute priority for both the Welsh Government and health care providers. Tough choices will still need to be made but we hope the revised guidelines will allow more flexibility for health care providers. ”

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