OFFICIALS have expressed cautious optimism after Bolton avoided further coronavirus restrictions whilst the government moved local restrictions to a three tiered system.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out the new system in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon, with the tiers intended to simplify the targeted measures taken to control the spread of the virus.

Under the new restrictions, areas England will be placed into tier one, two, or three alert levels, relating to “medium”, “high” and “very high”.

Bolton has been placed at the "high" tier, meaning no new restrictions will be implemented across the borough for the time being.

Chris Green, MP for Bolton West and Atherton, welcomed the news that hospitality could remain open, but is concerned about the future.

He said: "Bolton has been through a very difficult time with the harshest restrictions in the country and whilst I'm relieved that we're only in tier two, this does mean that the hardship and pressure on many businesses will continue.

"As the lockdown hasn't worked anywhere in the county and the positive rest rate is still going up, my fear is that before long, perhaps the whole area will be in tier 3 just as people are planning for Christmas."

Areas at the lowest tier will be subject to national restrictions, such as the rule of six and the 10pm hospitality curfew, whilst high alert areas will be banned from meeting with members of other households indoors.

Parts of the country at the "very high" alert level will be banned from mixing with people in private gardens, and could see hospitality venues closed.

Currently, Boltonians have been banned from meeting with other people inside their homes or gardens – with the new measures actually set to be softer than those currently in place.

Cllr Nick Peel, Labour leader for Bolton, confirmed that the borough council was waiting for clarification on the new rules, and called for the authority to be given new measures

He said: "As I understand, the restrictions that we have in Bolton remain broadly as they are, which feels like a reasonably appropriate response.

“The debate now needs to move onto making sure these restrictions work, as it is in nobody's interest to keep going back and forth like this.

"Bolton needs to be given powers to immediately close all non-compliant businesses, and we need to be allowed to run our track, trace and isolate system for ourselves, as its been shown time and time again, that local authorities are able to deliver these systems in a more efficient and much more localised approach."