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Hospitality businesses in Bolton restricted to takeaway-only 'immediately'

08 September 2020 by

Health secretary Matt Hancock has announced that hospitality businesses in Bolton have been restricted to takeaway-only "starting immediately".

All venues will also now be required to close from 10pm to 5am and it will be against the law for people to socialise outside their household.

Hancock said there have been a "very significant" rise in cases in the town – 120 cases per 100,000 population, the highest case rate in the country – which he said was "partly due to people socialising in their 20s and 30s". He said a number of pubs had also been identified through contact tracing in which the virus had "spread significantly".

He said: "This virus is still very much with us and remains a threat."

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord posted on Twitter: "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."

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "We share the government's public health objectives as a top priority, so the increased Covid cases in Bolton are obviously regrettable. Hospitality venues have gone out of their way to collect test and trace data , so inevitably will be linked to more cases, despite the reality of infections happening in any setting. It is vital that the government urgently engages with us to help businesses understand what more they can do, and what triggers this level of lockdown.

"Those hospitality businesses in Bolton who have done the right thing, having made themselves Covid-secure in order to safely trade their way out of a crisis are now being forced to close. There must be an adequate support package to see them through to the other side of this shutdown, with clear criteria for when they can reopen fully."

Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) national chairman Nik Antona said: it was a "devastating blow" these pubs and local people's livelihoods. He said pub companies must immediately cancel rent for tied pub tenants in Bolton and that the government must introduce a new financial support package and extend the furlough scheme for pubs that are forced to close in local lockdowns "to avoid permanent closures and further job losses".

Photo: Shutterstock

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