Health officials tried to stop retailers selling Easter eggs because of coronavirus pandemic

Retailers are continuing to sell Easter eggs despite some health officials telling them to pull them from the shelves during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) issued guidance to shopkeepers after receiving reports from some that they had been told to drop them from their range. 

"We've had a small number of reports of environmental health officers attempting to stop retailers from selling seasonal items like easter eggs," the ACS.

The interference came despite there being no official guidance from the Government on what shops can sell during the pandemic. 

The ACS has sought to reassure members that they "are able to continue trading throughout the lockdown and play a vital role in keeping our communities looked after in these very difficult times".

"There are no restrictions on the types of goods that ACS members can continue to sell - in effect you should continue with the stock ranges that you would normally have for this time of year (this includes seasonal goods)," it said. 

Millions of chocolate eggs are exchanged each year in Britain over Easter. 

James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, suggested in comments to The Times that the complaints from health officials had been an unhelpful distraction during a difficult time of trading for store owners.

He said that any suggestion stores could not sell Easter eggs was "a misreading of the rules". 

"In the cases where officers have challenged retailers and shoppers in this way, it's brought confusion, distracted retailers in the busiest weeks of their lives, and increased the interactions between people at a time when the government is trying to minimise them," he said.