WARRINGTON’s pubs and restaurants will be forced to close at 10pm due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the town.

A range of increased restrictions have been announced for Warrington, Halton and Merseyside this morning, Friday.

Businesses operating in the hospitality sector will be required to shut between 10pm and 5am in these areas, with table service only.

While Warrington Borough Council warned residents not to visit other people’s homes earlier in the week, this will now be imposed by regulation.

These measures will come into place on Tuesday, September 22.

New guidance also states that the use of public transport should be ‘for essential purposes only’, while there should be no spectators at amateur or semi-professional sports fixtures.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said: "We have been working closely with the government over the large increase of coronavirus cases in Warrington in recent weeks, and we welcome these new restrictions - in Warrington and the wider region - which are absolutely necessary if we are to drive down infection numbers.

"We have already taken strong steps this week, urging our residents not to visit other households.

"These new measures will strengthen this work.

"We recognise the impact these new restrictions will have on our hospitality sector.

"We will continue to work closely with the government and will press them for extra support for the hospitality sector during this period.

"I am urging local people to help us by not seeking to take advantage of one more big night out this weekend.

"Although the new restrictions don’t come into force until Tuesday, please support our efforts to drive down Warrington’s coronavirus rates, by staying in or enjoying a night out responsibly and returning home for 10pm this weekend.”

At present, Warrington has the 12th highest rate of new coronavirus cases in England.

The most recently available Public Health England figures, for the seven days leading up to September 14, showed 211 positive Covid-19 tests in the town.

This is a rate of 100.5 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Director of public health Thara Raj added: "These restrictions, although disappointing for our borough, are a proportionate and necessary response in helping to drive down the number of coronavirus cases.

"As well as these additional measures, please remember the importance of washing your hands regularly, maintaining social distance, wearing a cloth face covering where necessary and getting a test if you have symptoms.

"We would urge everyone to help us by following the restrictions, so we can reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading now.

"The sooner our infection rates come down, the sooner we can have restrictions lifted.

"We all have a very important part to play in these efforts."