BUSINESSES across the borough have been dealt another blow, as non-essential retail and beauty services were forced to close.

After Bolton was plunged into Tier 4 restrictions on Wednesday, firms had just nine hours to prepare before the new rules came into effect.

As this is the third time many of these businesses have had to close, most were prepared to change the way they worked very smoothly, and have been able to transition into the new rules seamlessly.

Sammy Kenny, who has run the Village Boutique at the Last Drop Village for the past nine years, feels lucky that she's able to trade online.

She said: "It’s very disheartening to be closed again, and not a good way to start the new year.

"I am very lucky that I can trade online, unlike other industries that offer a hands on service.

"It’s been a challenging year for everyone and as a small business owner I’ve had to adapt my way of working to meet the needs of my customers."

With many people working from home, and most social events cancelled, the demand for formal wear has decreased, leaving some boutiques unable to sell their typical products.

Many firms took the change into their stride, and adjusted their stock to offer more casual pieces to fit with home-based life.

Miss Kenny added: "The usual winter party outfits were swapped for comfy loungewear which I showed off to my loyal customers and lots of new faces by posting videos online, which was new for me.

"I'm keeping positive about the future of my business and I'm looking forward to getting back to normal and seeing my customers face to face again as soon as it is safe to do so."

Although firms have been able to adapt to lockdown trading, the heartache of closing and financial losses have still hit many people hard.

Lynn Collins, the North West regional secretary for the Trades Union Congress, called for more financial support to prop up firms forced to close under Tier 4 restrictions.

She said: “These restrictions in Greater Manchester are necessary, but they are another hammer blow for struggling parts of the economy like hospitality and retail.

“Without more support from the government, jobs will be lost and businesses will close.

“Ministers must act quickly and provide the financial help hard-hit industries badly need. They can’t watch from the side lines as companies go the wall and redundancies mount.”