A BOLTON bar and restaurant owner has pleaded for more clarification from the authorities as the town’s hospitality sector enters another week of lockdown.

Rebecca Brayshaw, who operates Little Bolton Town Hall on St George’s Street, says the sector is being forgotten about as media coverage moves away from the town to cover the increasing restrictions across the country.

“We have had no communication, help or advice and we have no idea when this might be lifted,” said Rebecca, who transformed the well-known Georgian building into a bar, restaurant and business facilities.

“With other parts of the UK going into their versions of restricted lockdown it is still not as severe as us and I don’t understand how Bolton can be so different?

“Why does a 10pm curfew in Chorley make any difference to a complete lockdown in Bolton? Everybody knows this virus is not picking and choosing who and where it affects or at what time of the day and it isn’t going to a pub but not an office.

“It is just very confusing and we need more explanation about the difference it is making because at the moment we are still top of the charts and it doesn’t seem like there has been a huge benefit.”

Rebecca says she feels a lack of communication has led to anger among Bolton’s restaurateurs and landlords.

“Nobody is expecting all the answers,” she said. “But what I’ve struggled with is that nobody from our council has taken the time to reach out to the hospitality businesses that have been affected in a way that no other businesses in the UK have and just say ‘when we know we will let you know’.

“As lovely as it is for customers to message me on Facebook to tell me about grants I might be able to get I want to be hearing that from my council.

“I shouldn’t have to be sat at home wondering how I’m going to survive this without any immediate support and communication from the only people who can give that you and that is the council.

“I feel like we’re old news and that now everyone else is going into their own curfew measures suddenly Bolton is paragraph ten.

“We need more and we deserve more.”

Under current coronavirus restrictions, Bolton’s hospitality venues are limited to takeaway and must be closed to customers between 10pm and 5am each day.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the extended measures on September 8, saying rise in infection rates across the town was “partly due to socialising by people in their 20s and 30s.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said: “I know how difficult it is for our businesses within the hospitality sector, particularly those who played by the rules and found innovative ways to welcome their customers back to a safe environment and who have now found themselves having to close their doors.

“I want to personally reassure the hospitality sector that we are doing everything we can to get you the financial support and help promised as soon as we can, and we are lobbying for additional help.

“In both local and national media, I have called on government to return to the original furlough arrangements.

“We are waiting for details from government on the new grants scheme and when we get this information, we will be communicating it to all our businesses.

“We witnessed the most extreme spike in positive cases witnessed anywhere in the country since the pandemic began, and we have still the most positive cases in the country.

“I urge everyone to follow the guidance and then we will see our rates come down; and only then can we can press government to reopen our hospitality businesses and allow us to get our economy back up and running and us all back to the normality we all crave for.

“Our rules are reviewed regularly by government - we hope that restrictions will be eased when things start to move in the right direction.”