AS BOLTON enters Tier 3 our cafes, restaurants and shops have just one message: We’re open for business’.

Under Tier 3 rules, all shops are able to remain open - even those which were classed as ‘non-essential’ earlier this year.

But Tier 3 rules do mean all pubs and bars must close unless they serve ‘substantial meals’ and operate as a restaurant.

Alex McVey, owner of Odessa in Exchange Street, said: “We need to get the message out there that the town’s cafes are open for business.

“We’ve had customers coming in and stocking up, thinking that we are going to be closed once Tier 3 comes in – but that is obviously not the case.

“We are diversifying as a business and doing more deliveries but it has been really tough so we don’t need all this confusion over who can open.

“We have everything in place in terms of social distancing and we also have the NHS test and trace system in place here.

“We need all our brilliant, loyal customers to keep supporting us and supporting local businesses.”

At Thyme Deli in Horwich, owner Amanda Biggs was urging people to visit her business.

She said: “We are lucky enough to be both a shop and a cafe, so even if guests do not want to sit in and eat with us they can still shop in the deli - especially now as we have Christmas stock arriving.

“At this time of year our hampers are popular and I imagine this year these will be even more sought-after as a gift for people to send to family they are unable to spend time with.”

Like Alex, Amanda said staff had worked hard to make the business as safe an environment as possible.

“Since we reopened we have put into effect all of the required social distancing measures - reducing our seating capacity to allow for social-distancing, providing hand sanitisers, taking details via track and trace.

“As a 5-star hygiene-rated business, our cleanliness standards were always high but we have introduced extra cleaning measures to make Thyme as safe as possible.”

One town centre business looking forward to this weekend was X Records on Bridge Street.

The third day of Record Store Day, a chance for independent record shops to celebrate their unique culture, will see music fans flock to pick up limited edition vinyl from the likes of the Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy and Eminem.

Staff member, Barrie Reilly, said: “People have been ringing today asking if we’re open but we’ve been reopen since July 1.

“We had hundreds of people queuing all the way down to the Star and Garter on the first day and good numbers on the second so we’re hoping for something similar this Saturday.”

Another Bolton business which has worked hard throughout the last six months is Carrs Pasties.

The family-run bakery which has been baking products for more than 80 years, had to make substantial changes to its shops in summer with reduced menus, social-distancing and asking customers to pay by card if possible.

Managing director, Joe Carr, said: “It’s so important to encourage our community to shop and invest locally with the independent businesses that are still open.

“We’ve put steps in place to ensure we can serve customers safely and we have our delivery and click-and-collect services available for those who would prefer the Carrs Pasties experience at home. We’re very much open for business and here for our customers.”