A DECISION on whether to increase Greater Manchester's coronavirus alert from Tier 2 ("high") to Tier 3 ("very high") has still not been made following crunch talks between local leaders and Government officials this morning.

A meeting took place between Greater Manchester chiefs and the Cabinet Office from 10am in which discussions were held on whether the region's covid-19 alert level should be raised.

But an agreement was not reached by the politicians and further meetings are set to be held today.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of Bolton Council, said: "The meeting closed just before 11am.

"An agreement was not reached and Greater Manchester leaders held firm in their opposition to the imposition of Tier 3.

"We argued on a number of fronts:

1. Against closure of businesses and the harm that would do to the economy, jobs and livelihoods.
2. The need for increased packages of financial help to protect businesses and residents who work in the hospitality sector, particularly following the period where Bolton has experienced increased lockdown measures.

3. Continue to argue for increased powers on enforcement and non compliance that would go hand in hand with allowing our hospitality to remain open.

"I understand Government is now meeting with Greater Manchester MPs.

"We were told there would be no imminent announcement on Greater Manchester and that the Government would take our comments away and get back to us."

At the moment the Liverpool City Region is the only area in Tier 3.

Under the Tier 3 restrictions, households (and their support bubbles) cannot meet other people indoors and outdoors.

Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal.

They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.

Travel guidance applies too.