Restaurant owners and the leader of Bolton Council are continuing to push the Government for a change in restrictions placed upon the borough's hospitality sector.

Three weeks ago restaurants, bars and pubs were told to close to visitors due to a rise in coronavirus cases, since then they have been able to operate as takeaway-only.

Despite virus rates rising in other boroughs, no area in the country has been subjected to the same measures.

The owner of Global Interiors in Astley Bridge, which is home to restaurant Salotto, launched an online petition last week asking for Bolton to be brought in line with the rest of the country.

More than 2,000 people have since signed the petition.

Donna Burrell said: "We have had so much support it's overwhelming, yet despite all the signatures we have heard nothing from the Government, I'm so frustrated.

"The fact that cases are still rising shows that the hospitality industry isn't to blame here, the restrictions are just encouraging people to break the rules.

"We are the biggest town the UK but no one is taking any notice of us.

"Beauty salons can now open in Bolton, so why can't we. Restaurants are just as safe as them, if not safer.

"My theory is they are planning nation wide closures soon, which is why they won't change what's happening in Bolton, or they are simply ignoring us."

Meanwhile, Retreat restaurant, who have sites in Bromley Cross, Chorley New Road and Adlington, have written to Matt Hancock asking why Bolton is being treated differently.

They shared a template email on their Facebook page on Sunday and have urged other businesses to do it, the post received over 600 engagements.

Richard Hibbert, the director of Retreat, said: “We are just being ignored. David Greenhalgh and the MPs Chris Green and Mark Logan have been pushing for restrictions to change.

“They have been saying that Bolton needs to be put on a level playing field. But unfortunately the Government aren’t taking any notice.

“It just feels like one rule for us and one rule for everyone else, we have been left hung out to dry.

“It’s totally unjust. They seem to be ignoring everyone in Manchester; the MPs, the Mayor, the papers, they’re not taking any notice.

“What we want is to be able to open until 10pm like the rest of the country, or ensure that other boroughs with high rates have to close businesses like us.

“We’ve got 70 staff to pay, we have bills to pay, we have furlough payments to pay.

“How do they expect us to fund this when we have no money coming in."

Leader of Bolton Council David Greenhalgh is lobbying for the restrictions to change in Bolton.

He is working with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to see what can be done to help businesses financially, by presenting case studies from his ward.

He said: "Currently the brick wall appears to be the health advisors and the Sage Committee, they seem to be highly averse to lifting restrictions in Bolton.

"But I will continue to fight for businesses at this time.

"What needs to be clarified is this is not the Council's decision to enforce these restrictions.

"As an administration we are 100% supportive of hospitality being allowed to reopen.

"My main issue is the unfairness in the way Bolton hospitality has been treated.

"We were put into these restrictions when our figures were just over 100 cases per 100,000.

"Seven boroughs within GM are now above that figure, some well above and yet their hospitality remains open.

"No one wishes our position on other boroughs but the lack of equality is unacceptable.

"It breeds resentment that our businesses can see others allowed to trade less than half a mile away across a borough boundary with rates that are now way above what ours were when we had these restrictions imposed."

The Department of Health and Social Care are working closely with local leaders to ensure appropriate restrictions are in place.

A spokesman for the department said: “We work closely with local leaders and public health teams to inform decisions on local interventions, taking into account a range of factors.

“PHE, the JBC and NHS Test and Trace are constantly monitoring the levels of infection across the country.

“We discuss measures with local Directors of Public Health and local authorities, constantly reviewing the evidence and we will take swift targeted action where necessary.”