A host of businesses, including gaming centers, bowling alleys and casinos, may finally reopen in the north of England from Tuesday.
Additional Covid-19 restrictions on Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire are relaxed.
This means ice rinks, conference centers and exhibition halls may also resume, with the exception of Bolton – where the infection rate remains high.
Easing brings the north back in step with changes in the rest of England.
The relaxation of the measures also applies to indoor shows at a social distance and to local services such as facials.
However, a ban on people from different households meeting indoors remains in all parts of Greater Manchester except Stockport and Wigan.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was happy to make the changes “because local lockdowns are working to control the virus.”
“We are seeing improved infection rates thanks to the tremendous efforts of local communities and authorities working alongside our efficient testing and tracing system,” he added.
Stricter lockdown rules were imposed on Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire in July amid an increase in coronavirus cases.
But these strengthened measures are constantly reviewed and some areas have seen restrictions relaxed in recent weeks, while others have seen stricter rules introduced.
By Daniel Wainwright, BBC England Data Unit
The boroughs of Greater Manchester were stranded together in July, but they are coming out at a different pace.
Bolton, Trafford and Stockport had been chosen for rule relaxation on Wednesday, but advice from Trafford and Bolton sounded the alarm on a recent increase in cases and the decision for those two areas was overturned.
Now Bolton recorded the highest rate of new coronavirus cases in England for the week leading up to September 1, with 265 cases, or 92 per 100,000 population.
In Lancashire, when residents of the eastern county were told they were not to meet indoors, Rossendale seemed to have been drawn in simply because he was surrounded by areas with high infection rates .
For two weeks in late June and early July there were no new cases at all and until recently he was only seeing a few a day.
That changed last week with a big spike on Friday August 28, with 16 positive tests being recorded in one day.
Under the latest changes to restrictions, all swimming pools, gyms and sports facilities will now be able to open across the country from Tuesday.
Indoor swimming pools including water parks, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gymnasiums and sports fields and facilities will also open in Leicester and the remaining parts of Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford.
Current restrictions on coronaviruses include:
- The 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 the ban on mixing households indoors, residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with people from another household.
- In Bolton, casinos, ice rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centers and indoor play areas, including soft play areas, will remain closed. Socially distanced indoor shows 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 mingling with anyone from another household
- Ban on two households mingling indoors will continue in Preston and the rest of Pendle
- Urban areas of Bradford, where the ban on indoor domestic gatherings remains in place
- In Kirklees, a ban on domestic gatherings inside will continue in Dewsbury and Batley
- The ban will also continue in parts of Calderdale
- Restrictions on indoor gatherings remain and the next review of these measures will take place on September 11
- Indoor swimming pools, including water parks, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gymnasiums and sports fields and facilities will be able to reopen legally from Tuesday, but casinos, ice rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centers 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 Public Health England’s “watch list” while Leeds, South Tyneside, Middlesbrough, Corby and Kettering have been added “as matters of concern”.
Norfolk, Rossendale and Northampton will be added as ‘areas of enhanced support’, meaning the government will work with local authorities to provide additional resources – such as testing or contact tracing – to help reduce the number infections.
Why not follow BBC North West on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? You can also send article ideas to