MARKETS will stay open but only sell food and essential items following the stricter measures announced last night to combat the coronavirus.

These stalls will remain open as normal at Bolton Market until further notice but customers will be reminded to observe social distancing guidance by signs and public announcements every 15 minutes.

Parks across the borough will also reopen to allow people to exercise – but play areas, tennis courts and bowling greens will be closed.

Bins may not be collected on time and all household waste and recycling centres have been closed.

A council spokesman said: “We are working hard to collect waste as normal, but regret that this might not always be possible.

“At this stage, priority will be given to the collection of grey bins, food waste containers and green bins. Recycling bins will be emptied where possible so please continue to present all bins on the appropriate collection day.

“If your bins are not emptied please take them back onto your property until your next scheduled collection day, as we will not be able to return for any that have not been emptied.”

The new government measures announced by the Prime Minister last night mean residents should only leave their homes for the following reasons:

Shopping for necessities (food and medicine) as infrequent as possible

One form of exercise a day (run, walk, cycle) alone or with members of your household

Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

Travelling to and from work, only where working from home is not possible

The government has also issued guidance on “shielding” measures for extremely vulnerable people with serious underlying health conditions.

Bolton Council is currently drawing up “detailed” plans to make sure anyone who is asked to follow this guidance is supported.

Older adults, learning disability and mental health day care services are closed  until further notice as are respite services for adults and older people.

But assisted living facilities at Laburnum Lodge, Darley Court and Wilfred Gere will stay open as will the integrated equipment stores and independent living service.

Adult social work teams are refocussing their services on critical activity and safeguarding.

In line with last night’s government announcement, parks in Bolton have reopened for exercise purposes. However, car parks, equipped play areas, multi-use games areas, tennis courts and bowling greens will all be closed.

For the time being, all marriage registrations have stopped and no bookings for weddings are being taken for the rest of the year.

The council will register births if there is an urgent need to do so, for example if a benefit claim needs to be made and is working with the Local Resilience Forum to put provisions in place to register all births.

For the time being, deaths can be registered with the council as normal.

Funerals at the crematorium will be limited to a maximum of ten guests.

A council spokesman added: “Every effort is being made to ensure burials can take place in accordance with the requirements of all faiths and beliefs.”

We will do all we can to support existing licence holders, however due to the current unprecedented challenges we have made the following changes to our services.

For now, the counter facilities to support licence holders will close and all business will be moved online where possible.

Private hire and hackney carriage vehicles and drivers expiring before the June 30 will be required to complete and submit a ‘self-certification online form’ and once verified the licence can be extend to September 30 2020.

Further information is available by contacting the licensing team by email at

If this preferred option is not possible, licensees can call 01204 336584 and choose option 1 but there maybe delays due to call volumes.

A six-week grace period for those drivers that expire before the June 30 will be extended to September 30.

This is for anyone not wishing to apply to extend their licence and will be reviewed in light of any new government guidance.