Posted: Tue 8th Sep 2020
Hospitality businesses in Bolton have been restricted to only offering takeaway food and drink due to a rise in coronavirus cases.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told MPs in Parliament that COVID-19 cases in the town in Greater Manchester are now at 120 per 100,000, the highest rate in the UK. The increase has been driven by an increase in new cases among young people.
"The rise in cases in Bolton is partly due to socialising by people in their 20s and 30s," he said. "We know this from contact tracing.
"And through our contact-tracing system, we have identified a number of pubs at which the virus has spread significantly."
Making the announcement locally, David Greenhalgh, leader of Bolton Council, blamed the measures "on the irresponsible actions of a few which has led to a position where our rates are at a level where government had no choice but to take action."
The following new local lockdown measures begin immediately:
All hospitality companies offering food and drink restricted to takeaway only
Restriction of operating hours which means all venues, including takeaways, are required to close from 22:00 to 05:00
Mixed households banned from meeting in public outdoor settings, which will be enforceable by law
The government has not announced any new support for affected businesses but Greenhalgh said: "We are working across the council with the government and our partners to bring down the number of cases of this deadly virus, and to continue to press government for extra support for the hospitality sector as they are once again asked to close their doors."
Greater Manchester's night time economy adviser Sacha Lord tweeted: "Whilst safety must always come first, I'm gutted that pubs, bars and restaurants have had to close in Bolton. I feel for the operators, many who have only just recently re-opened.
"This completely re-iterates why we need further financial aid for businesses who can't fully operate."
Earlier this week, The Times reported that business secretary is considering grants for businesses hit by local lockdowns.
Are you a business owner in Bolton affected by the new local lockdown measures? Email Dan to share your story.
We are keeping you updated on the latest information COVID-19 business support, funding and advice in Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.