People have been left confused after ministers and police forces issued conflicting advice on lockdown shopping.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested this morning that Britons should only go shopping for “essentials” once week, yet guidance published by the UK Government last week does not set out how often people are allowed to leave their home for food or what they can buy.
The remarks came after police forces were accused of being overzealous by targeting shops selling Easter eggs, after officers deemed them to be “non-essential” items.
Mr Shapps told the BBC: “People know the rules that have been set, try and shop just once a week.
“Just do the essentials, not everything else.”
Downing Street sought to clarify the remarks just hours later however, telling reporters that the correct message to the public was in the guidance published last week.
“You should be shopping for basic necessities like food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible”, the prime minister’s spokesman said.
He confirmed there was no restriction on the number of shopping trips a member of the public could make in a week.
It comes as Boris Johnson chaired a meeting of his Cabinet by videolink on Tuesday, as he continues to self-isolate in Downing Street after testing positive for coronavirus.
All Cabinet ministers dialled into the meeting, with only civil service chief Sir Mark Sedwill and a small number of officials in the Cabinet room in Downing Street, following the rules and keeping two metres apart.
The prime minister told the meeting “the rising death toll in recent days showed the vital importance of the public continuing to stick to the social distancing guidance which has been put in place by the Government, based on scientific and medical advice”.
He added: “The situation is going to get worse before it gets better – but it will get better.”
Speaking after the meeting, the prime minister’s official spokesman said Mr Johnson was still exhibiting “mild symptoms” of Covid-19 and would remain in self-isolation in Number 11 until Friday.
Support The Courier today.
The Courier is committed to delivering quality content to our communities and right now that’s more important than ever — which is why our key content is free. However, you can support us and access premium content by subscribing to The Courier from just £5.99 a month. Because Local Matters.Subscribe