CORONAVIRUS restrictions are to be eased in Greater Manchester, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres, and indoor play areas will be able to lawfully reopen from Tuesday throughout Greater Manchester – apart from Bolton, where these restrictions will remain in place.

Mr Hancock said: “I’m very glad we’ve been able to make this change, working with local councils, because local lockdowns are working to control the virus. We are seeing improvements in the rates of infection thanks to the huge efforts made by local communities and authorities working alongside our effective Test and Trace system.

“We must stay alert and I continue to encourage everyone to play their part by following local rules, self-isolating and requesting a free test as soon as they get any symptoms.”

He said the changes would mean that in Greater Manchester, apart from Bolton, Lancashire, and West Yorkshire socially distanced indoor performances will also be able to resume from Tuesday, and remaining restrictions on certain close contact services (treatments on the face, such as eyebrow threading or make-up application) will be lifted.

“The rates of infection remain too high in Bolton for these easements to be applied and further work is now under way with local leaders.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to the hard work of residents, local communities and local authorities who have all worked to bring down the rates of infection. To maintain this good progress, it is important local residents continue to wear face coverings where necessary, practise good hygiene and adhere to national social distancing rules.

“The rate of infection is still too high in Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire to allow lifting restrictions on gatherings.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “We have been asking the Government to consider easing restrictions on business opening across Greater Manchester and welcome the Secretary of State’s positive announcement today. There is no evidence that these businesses are causing the spread of the virus and we know that these premises are making arrangements to operate in a safe way.

“It is understandable that this won’t apply in Bolton for the time being, but we will be working hard with Bolton Council and partners to move to a position where the restrictions on business opening can be eased as soon as possible.

“However, it is important people continue to follow the rules on no social gatherings in the home and the public health advice on washing hands, face coverings and social distancing.”