OFFICIALS expect Bolton to be put under the toughest rules when the new coronavirus restrictions are announced on Thursday.

Senior councillors have said they expect the borough will be subject to Tier 3 restrictions when national lockdown measures end on December 2.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned "many more places" will be in higher tiers than before national lockdown.

Although no decision has been made, officials believe Bolton will be put back under the strictest restrictions on Thursday.

Cllr Martyn Cox, deputy leader of Bolton Council, said: "I'm pretty sure we'll be in Tier 3, but if rates continue to fall there's no reason why we wouldn't move to Tier 1 eventually, as set out by government.

"We were unfortunately the first place to spike, and the new system will be the eighth different type of lockdown we have been under.

"Who knows what the future will bring, but a vaccine is the key."

Shops, gyms, personal care (such as hairdressers), collective worship, weddings, outdoor sports will all return, and the rule of six will apply across all tiers.

Households will not be allowed to mix indoors in either Tier 2 or 3, and hospitality venues in Tier 3 areas will have to close unless they can offer a takeaway service.

Cllr Nick Peel, leader of the Labour party in Bolton, thinks the borough will move into Tier 3 – but doesn't support hospitality remaining closed.

He said: "I think it's likely that we're going to be in Tier 3, but Bolton has been in high tiers for longer than most parts of the country so it's going to take its toll.

"All manner of shops are going to be allowed to reopen but hospitality venues can't.

"The science shows most transmissions are between households, but the government is willing to give an amnesty for meeting at Christmas and no such amnesty for hospitality."

An official announcement is expected on Thursday.