Bolton lockdown restrictions tightened as coronavirus cases surge

Pubs, bars and restaurants will only be able to operate as takeaways under 10pm curfew

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 08 September 2020 19:37
comments
Matt Hancock announces Bolton lockdown restrictions are being tightened as coronavirus cases surge

Pubs, bars and restaurants in Bolton will only be able to operate as takeaways and will be forced to close their doors under a 10pm curfew, in a significant escalation of coronavirus restrictions in the area, Matt Hancock has announced.

The health secretary also said current guidance that people cannot socialise outside their households will be put into law in the Greater Manchester borough because of a surge in Covid-19 cases.

In a statement in the Commons, Mr Hancock said that Bolton has the highest case rate in the country with 120 cases per 100,000 population, and he claimed the rise was “largely due to socialising by people in their twenties and thirties”.

The cabinet minister said: “Through our contact tracing system we’ve identified a number of pubs at which the virus has spread significantly. We are therefore taking the following action in Bolton, starting immediately.

“We will restrict all hospitality to takeaways only and we will introduce a late-night restriction of operating hours, which will mean all venues will be required to close from 10pm until 5am.

“We’ll introduce urgently further measures that put the current guidance that people cannot socialise outside the household into law.”

Mr Hancock said that visitor restrictions will also be put into place in care homes in the area.

“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," he said.

"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."

He 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."

The action comes after the UK recorded close to 3,000 new cases of the virus on Monday – for a second day running – amid rising levels of transmission in European countries such as France and Spain.

Pressed over concerns of a second wave of the coronavirus in the UK, Mr Hancock earlier told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee he was “obviously concerned” about a surge in positive test results for the virus.

“There is no inevitability to a second peak,” he said. “It depends on the actions that all of us take. Of course in government we’re concerned about this and we keep all options open, but everybody has a part to play.”

He added: “It is for all of us to take this very seriously indeed. We’ve seen in other countries if you don’t take a second spike seriously, then it can lead to very serious problems down the track."

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