Health secretary Matt Hancock has announced that Bolton's lockdown restrictions will be aligned with the rest of Greater Manchester.

Speaking in the Commons this morning, Mr Hancock said: "We’re also aligning the measures in Bolton with the rest of Greater Manchester and I’d like to pay tribute to David Greenhalgh, the leader of Bolton Council, for his constructive support and the Bolton MPs for all they’ve done in support of Bolton."

Three weeks ago extra restrictions were imposed on the borough amid a sharp rise in coronavirus cases which meant hospitality businesses would only be able to serve customers by takeaway or delivery.

Bolton Council has now confirmed that hospitality busniesses in the borough can re-open from this Saturday, with restrictions, including table service only, a 10pm closing time with deliveries only after 10pm.

This week pressure mounted from Bolton's hospitality industry, along with councillors and MPs, calling for restrictions to be eased and brought in line with the rest of the region.

Leader of Bolton Council, David Greenhalgh said he is "delighted" with the announcement.

He said: "I am delighted that Government has finally listened and realised the disparity and unfairness at the way our hospitality sector in Bolton has been treated.

"I have done my very best to put the pressure on and highlight the inequality and the damage to our economy, to jobs and to local businesses, as I know many restauranteurs and landlords have, and this is now a victory for fairness and common sense, and for all those businesses who lobbied and put the case.

"My first priority is to the residents and businesses of this town, and I will continue to fight for these businesses and for more financial help."

Mark Logan, MP for Bolton North East, said: "Bolton North East’s pubs are back in business! It’s right that Ministers have finally listened to our calls to bring Bolton in line with the rest of Greater Manchester.

"The hospitality sector will shortly be able to resume trading with the evening restrictions, allowing you to welcome customers back."

However, Cllr Greenhalgh urged that this does not mean the virus has "gone away" and that the borough must still work to keep infection rates going down.

He added: "This is not a sign that COVID has gone away but a move to bring parity and consistency across Greater Manchester.

"We must now work together as one large community to keep our rates down to avoid any further restrictions, follow the guidance and find that balance between containing COVID-19, protect those most vulnerable, and allow our economy to function.

"I thank the many people in Westminster and locally who I have pestered and mithered over the last couple of weeks that have helped to get us to this point today where our hospitality finally has a lifeline."

Bolton Labour Group leader, Cllr Nick Peel, said: "The important thing now if hopitality is to open to 10pm is really vigorous enforcement to manage compliance, that has to be the key to it.

"We also need a very effective track and trace system as well as limiting numbers and social distancing.

"This is really important because if it goes pear shaped and there is another spike we are back to square one."

It comes after Bolton's coronavirus infection rate fell below 200 per 100,000 residents according to the latest figures.

The figures, for the seven days to September 27, based on tests, show that the rate has fallen to 196.1 per 100,000 people from 234.4 per 100,000 in the previous week ­— the seven days to September 20.

The number of new cases in the same time period was down from 674 to 564.