With rates of Coronavirus transmission still high in Wales, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has called on shoppers and retailers to play their part in keeping people safe by ensuring face coverings are worn while shopping indoors.
This is a legal requirement in Wales for those not exempt and is crucial in helping to prevent the spread of the virus.
Rates of coronavirus in Wales are currently the highest in the UK and unless rates begin to fall, Welsh Ministers will have to consider reintroducing restrictions to bring the spread of the virus under control.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething is calling on people in Wales to respect the rules and safety advice in place to prevent coronavirus spreading even further and more people falling seriously ill. This includes making sure that face coverings are worn in indoor public spaces like shops.
During a visit to Morrisons in Cardiff Bay, the Minister paid tribute to retail staff across Wales who have been unsung heroes throughout the pandemic, working to keep the nation fed.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said:
“We must all play our part in Keeping Wales Safe.
“Even though we are all now able enjoy life’s freedoms, we must all keep taking necessary precautions when shopping to keep ourselves, other shoppers, including society’s clinically vulnerable and store workers safe.
“Whilst vaccines remain the best defence against the virus and we continue to encourage everyone to work from home wherever possible, I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a face covering in indoor public places.
“And it is important to remember that shopping isn’t a choice unlike a trip to the theatre or pub. I hear from many clinically vulnerable people who tell me that they feel unsafe whilst shopping because of face coverings not being worn. I am calling on everyone to be considerate to these people and do the right thing.
“Wearing a covering in shops is a legal requirement for those not exempt, and I’m very keen to press that point here today. Retailers have an important role in getting this message across and ensuring their shops are safe and it is good to see how seriously many retailers, like Morrisons, are taking this.
“The Welsh Government are keen to avoid introducing further restrictions, particularly in the retail sector in the lead up to the festive period. One way we can all help to avoid that is by following rules and safety measures already in place to help keep us all safe.
“Shop staff are continuously putting their own health at risk by serving the public every day and we mustn’t forget that. Please continue to show retail workers the respect and courtesy they deserve as they continue to work tirelessly to help ensure that shopping in the run up to Christmas is as pleasant, safe and stress-free as it can be at this very busy time.
“My message to consumers is simple – shop safe, shop kind this year.”
David Scott, Corporate Affairs Director at Morrisons, said:
“We were delighted to welcome Vaughan Gething to our Cardiff Bay store. Our store colleagues are working hard to ensure a safe and enjoyable shopping trip for customers. As we enter the festive period we would encourage customers to continue to wear their face covering wherever possible and be considerate to others.”
Sara Jones, Welsh Retail Consortium, said:
“Retailers and shopworkers in Wales have worked incredibly hard and responsibly to keep customers and colleagues safe and supplied throughout the pandemic. They’ve done a brilliant job, invested significantly to make their stores as Covid-secure as they can be, and continue to go above and beyond the baseline measures.
However, each and every shopper also has a duty to play their part, by following store safety protocols and the government’s mandate on face coverings, and by being considerate and respectful to fellow shoppers and shop staff. This way we can all enjoy shopping during the festive period and support our favourite shops over the coming weeks, knowing every purchase made and every item bought is a local job supported and a high street helped.”