GREATER Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has urged the Government to let Bolton’s pubs and restaurants reopen, pointing to other areas that have higher infection rates but no restrictions on hospitality.

After having the highest seven-day rolling rate of new coronavirus cases three weeks ago, the Government told hospitality businesses in Bolton they must operate a takeaway-only service.

But now four boroughs in England have larger rates than Bolton yet the town is the only one in the country that has the strict measures.

And the metro mayor is calling on the Government to allow Bolton's pubs and restaurants to serve customers like the rest of the country or introduce the same restrictions to boroughs with higher infection rates.

Mr Burnham tweeted: “This is the problem with local restrictions.

"Once they’re in, they tend to stay in.

"And the longer they’re in, the more the anomalies/injustices grow.

“Either Ministers close hospitality in places with high cases with compensation.

"Or let Bolton’s open today. It’s that simple.”

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.

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 more than 600 engagements.

Leader of Bolton Council David Greenhalgh is also 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 per cent 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.”