Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced a series of tighter lockdown restrictions in Bolton as part of new measures to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the town.
Under the new restrictions, which were announced to MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon, all hospitality outlets – including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes – are now restricted to takeaway only, a curfew ordering venues to close at 10pm-5am has been put in place, and further measures that put the current guidance stating people cannot socialise outside their household into law.
Mr Hancock confirmed that the restrictions have been put in place “with immediate effect”.
It comes after it was stated that Bolton has seen a significant rise in cases – now up to 120 cases per 100,000 population – which is the highest infection rate of any borough in the country.
This is partly due to people socialising in their 20s and 30s, with a number of pubs being identified where the “virus has spread significantly”.
The following new restrictions will be put in place:
- Restrict all hospitality to takeaway only.
- All venues must close from 10pm to 5am.
- No socialising outside households will be put into law.
Mr Hancock said: “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.”
Matt Hancock added that visitor restrictions will also be put in place in care homes and hospitals.
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.”
Addressing people in Bolton directly, he continued: “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.”
“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.”
More information can be found via the Bolton Council website here.