Lockdown restrictions eased: Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and West Yorkshire

5 September 2020, 06:49

People walk on the street in central Bolton, Greater Manchester
People walk on the street in central Bolton, Greater Manchester. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Further lockdown restrictions have been eased for Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and West Yorkshire.

Leisure facilities, including casinos, skating rinks, and bowling alleys, will be able to reopen from Tuesday in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Socially distanced indoor performances will also be able to resume, and remaining restrictions on certain close contact services (treatments on the face, such as eyebrow threading or make-up application) will be lifted.

Read more: Test Scandal: LBC listener told to drive 341 miles for Covid swab

Read more: Leeds marked 'area of concern' amid fears of local lockdown

Exhibition halls, conference centres, and indoor play areas, including soft play areas, will also be allowed to open for the first time since lockdown began.

But the measures do not apply to Bolton, where restrictions remain in place.

The Government also said the rate of infection is still too high in Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire to allow lifting restrictions on gatherings.

A ban on two households mixing indoors will continue in City of Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Trafford, Oldham, Bury, Bolton, and Tameside.

In Oldham, in addition to a household mixing ban indoors, residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from another household anywhere.

Pools, gyms and sports facilities will also be able to reopen from Tuesday throughout Leicester and the remaining parts of Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford.

These easing measures will bring Leicester and the remaining parts of Bradford and Blackburn with Darwen in line with the national measures implemented on 25 July.

Leeds, South Tyneside, Corby, Middlesbrough and Kettering have been added to Government's "areas of concern."

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

Newark and Sherwood, Slough and Wakefield have been removed from the list.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I’m very glad we’ve been able to make this change, working with local councils, because local lockdowns are working to control the virus.

"We are seeing improvements in the rates of infection thanks to the huge efforts made by local communities and authorities working alongside our effective Test and Trace system.

“We must stay alert and I continue to encourage everyone to play their part by following local rules, self-isolating and requesting a free test as soon as they get any symptoms.”

Norfolk, Rossendale and Northampton will be added as ‘areas of enhanced support’, meaning government will work with local authorities to provide additional resources – such as testing or contact tracing – to help bring the numbers of infections down.

The Leicester, North of England and Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford regulations will be reviewed by 11 September.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: "We have been asking the Government to consider easing restrictions on business opening across Greater Manchester and welcome the Secretary of State's positive announcement today.

"There is no evidence that these businesses are causing the spread of the virus and we know that these premises are making arrangements to operate in a safe way.

"It is understandable that this won't apply in Bolton for the time being, but we will be working hard with Bolton Council and partners to move to a position where the restrictions on business opening can be eased as soon as possible.

"However, it is important people continue to follow the rules on no social gatherings in the home and the public health advice on washing hands, face coverings and social distancing."