Pubs and restaurants in Bolton ordered to serve takeaways only as coronavirus restrictions are tightened
New restrictions are being imposed on pubs and restaurants in Bolton, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country.
On Saturday, residents were told they should not mix with anyone from another household, whether indoors or outdoors, and were advised not to use public transport other than for essential journeys.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has now put new restrictions on hospitality businesses in the borough.
He told the House of Commons: “Unfortunately after improving for several weeks, we’ve seen a very significant rise in cases in Bolton. Bolton is up to 120 cases per 100,000 of population, the highest case rate in the country and I’m publishing the data behind the decisions that we’ve taken.
“I must therefore tell that House that, working with the local council, we’re taking further local action. The rise in cases in Bolton is partly due to socialising by people in their 20s and 30s, we know this from contact tracing.
“And through our contacting tracing system we’ve identified a number of pubs at which the virus has spread significantly.
“We’re therefore taking the following action in Bolton starting immediately. We will restrict all hospitality to takeaways-only and we’ll introduce a late-night restriction of operating hours which will mean all venues will be required to close from 10pm to 5am.
“We’ll introduce urgently further measures that put the current guidance that people cannot socialise outside their household into law.”
Mr Hancock added that visitor restrictions will also be put in place in care homes in Bolton.
He told MPs: “We’re also putting in place extra measures including visitor restrictions to restrict the spread of virus into care homes and hospitals in Bolton and I want to thank the leadership of Bolton Council who are doing an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances.”
Mr Hancock added: “And I want to say this to everybody directly living in Bolton – I know how anxious this can be and I know the impact that these measures will have.
“We’re asking you to take a step back at a time when we all just want to get on with our lives and what we love and back to normal. But we need to take this crucial step to keep the virus at bay.
“Because as we’ve seen elsewhere, if we act early and control the virus then we can save lives.”
The Health Secretary continued: “Now I know social distancing can be hard, and how it can be extra-tough for students who will be starting university – but please, stick with it and play your part in getting this virus under control.”
A spokesman for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority said: "This decision was taken by the Government in consultation with Bolton Council. Neither the mayor nor the council leaders of the nine other boroughs in the city-region were involved. We recognise the serious situation in Bolton and have offered any support they may need.”