OFFICIALS have slammed potential new restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.

A leaked document allegedly outlined new plans for tougher coronavirus restrictions across the North as early as Monday, with all hospitality businesses expected to be closed under the measures.

Cllr Nick Peel, the Labour leader in Bolton, warned the “complete and utter shambles” of the latest speculation could have very dangerous consequences.

He said: “They’re swinging wildly from one style of restriction to another and not only are people getting confused but they’re absolutely sick and tired of it all.

“The government needs to leave it up to local authorities who know what’s best for the individual areas, the current system is just a complete and utter shambles," he added.

“I don’t think these wholesale restrictions are working, most of our system is restriction by consent in the majority of cases because there’s very little enforcement available.

“The vast majority of people obeyed the rules but as the confusion continues and as the back and forth accelerates that consent disappears, which is very dangerous.”

If confirmed, the new rules would be a huge blow for an already struggling hospitality industry – especially in Bolton where pubs and restaurants were only just allowed to reopen last week.

Speaking of the possible new measures, leader of the council, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said: "It’s difficult to comment on speculation and leaked documents without being in possession of the true facts and detail, but I will continue to argue for our hospitality to remain open under the strict conditions and guidance set out.

“The balance must be found where restrictions are brought in and our vulnerable residents protected, but in doing this, our local economy must not shut down.

“We can not build back back better if many of our businesses have gone to the wall, and I feel duty bound to stand up for Bolton businesses who have already disproportionately suffered.

“If government does bring in additional measures and puts our hospitality sector into lockdown again, anything short of a similar package of help to that which was offered to the sector at the start of the March lockdown, would be unacceptable.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly finalising a package of financial support for the sector, amid fears of a fresh wave of job losses.

Tory backbenchers warned MPs must be given a vote before any such measures are brought into force in line with assurances given last week by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Cllr Greenhalgh also acknowledged how difficult the restrictions were on families, but believes they must remain in place to allow businesses to remain open.

He added: “None of this is easy, no one has answers, but the virus is with us, and we have to find a way of getting on with life, with everyone adhering to and following the guidance, respecting and protecting each other, while allowing businesses to function while following their strict guidelines.

“I believe the emphasis should now turn to stricter measures on inter-household communication in any setting."