Coronavirus: Bolton virus measures realigned with wider region

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Coronavirus signage in BoltonImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Hospitality venues in Bolton will once again be able to welcome customers

Coronavirus restrictions in Bolton are to be brought back in line with the rest of Greater Manchester, the government has announced.

Measures introduced in early September limited pubs and restaurants to takeaway service only.

Now the hospitality sector will once again be able offer table service to customers, and open until 22:00.

Bolton Council said the changes would come into force from Saturday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the move in a brief statement to Parliament after latest figures showed infections in the area had begun to fall.

There were 564 positive tests in the seven days up to 27 September, down from 674 the previous week.

Mr Hancock said he wanted to "pay tribute" to council leader David Greenhalgh for his "constructive support" throughout the period.

'Hospitality lifeline'

Mr Greenhalgh said on Wednesday Bolton's hospitality sector had been "thrown to the lions", since restrictions were brought in on 8 September.

He said he was "delighted" with the move to ease the measures, adding the hospitality industry "finally has a lifeline".

It comes as tougher restrictions were announced in Liverpool, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

The current ban on people from different households meeting indoors remains in all areas of Greater Manchester, and hospitality venues continue to be subject to the national 22:00 curfew.

The changes mean casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas will also be able to reopen.

The government also announced businesses that had to close for three weeks in Bolton because of the local restrictions could be eligible for grants of up to £1,500.

"We have put in place a wide-ranging package of support to help struggling businesses and Bolton Council can start distributing cash grants to those who need it, helping them through this challenging time," Business Minister Paul Scully said.

The government also revealed the council would receive an additional funding to run a discretionary grant fund which could be used to support businesses that do not pay business rates, and other severely impacted businesses.

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