A host of businesses including soft play centres, bowling alleys and casinos can finally reopen across the north of England from Tuesday.
Extra Covid-19 restrictions imposed on Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire are being eased.
It means skating rinks, conference centres and exhibition halls can also resume, with the exception of Bolton — where the infection rate remains high.
The easing brings the north in line with changes in the rest of England.
The relaxation of measures also applies to socially-distanced indoor shows and close-contact services such as facials.
However, a ban on people from different households meeting indoors remains in all areas of Greater Manchester except in Stockport and Wigan.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he welcomed the easing of restrictions for businesses in the county but added it was «understandable that this won’t apply in Bolton for the time being».
«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,» he added.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire, said the «further easing of the restrictions is due to the hard work of local people, businesses and local organisations».
«It’s still really important to follow the guidance and keep the cases down. This way you can avoid further restrictions coming back again in the future,» he added.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was glad to make the changes «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,» he added.
Stricter lockdown rules
were imposed on Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire in July amid a rise in coronavirus cases.
But these tightened measures are under constant review and certain areas have seen restrictions eased in recent weeks, while others have seen stricter rules introduced.
Leeds was designated «an area of concern» earlier after its seven-day infection rate rose to 32.5 cases per 100,000 people.
By Daniel Wainwright, BBC England Data Unit
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The boroughs of Greater Manchester were put into a tightened lockdown in July together, but they’re coming out of it at a different pace.
Bolton, Trafford and Stockport had been singled out for rules to be relaxed on Wednesday, but councils in Trafford and Bolton sounded the alarm over a recent rise in cases and the decision for those two areas was reversed.
Now Bolton has recorded the highest rate of new coronavirus cases in England for the week to 1 September, with 265 cases, equivalent to 92 per 100,000 residents.
Over in Lancashire, when people in the eastern part of county were told they should not meet indoors, Rossendale looked to have been pulled in simply because it was surrounded by areas with high rates of infection.
For two weeks at the end of June and beginning of July it didn’t have any new cases at all and until recently it would only see a few a day.
That changed last week with a big spike on Friday 28 August as 16 positive tests were recorded in one day.
Under the latest changes to the restrictions, every pool, gym and sports facility will now be able to open across the country from Tuesday.
Indoor swimming pools, including water parks, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms and sports courts and facilities will also be able to open in Leicester and the remaining parts of Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford.
The current coronavirus restrictions include:
- A ban on two households mixing indoors will continue in the city of Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Trafford, Bury, Bolton, and Tameside
- In Oldham, in addition to a household mixing ban indoors, residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from another household
- In Bolton, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres, and indoor play areas including soft play areas, will remain closed. Socially distanced indoor performances will remain closed, and restrictions on certain close contact services will remain
- In Blackburn and parts of Pendle residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from another household
- A ban on two households mixing indoors will continue in Preston and the rest of Pendle
- Urban areas of Bradford, where the ban on indoor household gatherings, remains in place
- In Kirklees, the ban on indoor household gatherings will continue in Dewsbury and Batley
- The ban will also continue in parts of Calderdale
- Indoor gatherings restrictions remain and the next review of these measures will take place by 11 September
- Indoor swimming pools, including water parks, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms and sports courts and facilities will be able to lawfully reopen from Tuesday, but casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres, and indoor play areas including soft play areas, will remain closed
- Socially distanced indoor performances will remain closed, and restrictions on certain close contact services will remain
Newark and Sherwood, Slough and Wakefield will be removed from the Public Health England «watchlist» while Leeds, South Tyneside, Middlesbrough, Corby and Kettering have been added «as areas of concern».
Norfolk, Rossendale and Northampton will be added as «areas of enhanced support», which means the government will work with local authorities to provide additional resources — such as testing or contact tracing — to help bring the numbers of infections down.