CAFES, bar and restaurants were told to close on Friday night in a move to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Popular venues across the borough shut their doors to follow the Government's measures to crack down on COVID-19.

Instead of opening for the last night in a while, Leigh town centre bars Cafe Stella, Bar Quaye and Est 1899 made a pact to close and put the safety of customers before takings.

In a statement, Cafe Stella owners Alex and Zoe Grundy said: "We fully back the bar closures.

"It was a huge step to take but a necessary one.

"The moment we found out there were going to be bar closures we knew it was a real threat that was possibly on our doorstep and there was no way we wanted to subject our staff or give our customers the choice on visiting our venue.

"As bills still have to be paid and with nothing coming in obviously at some point the business might run dry. But we are 100 per cent behind the closures until it is deemed safe by the Government, and we urge everyone to stick to the guidelines."

Owner of The Snug Coffee House on Market Street in Atherton, Rachael Flaszczak, welcomes the decision too.

Leigh Journal:

The gates are closed at The Snug Coffee House on Market Street in Atherton

READ > Vicar plays trumpet at top of church tower to raise smiles in uncertain times

Rachael said: "The decision to close all cafes, bars and restaurants came as a shock.

"I have six members of staff, a self-employed lady who bakes for us, plus two 15-year-old girls who work on Saturdays, so they’ve had to suddenly leave school and now lost their jobs for the next few weeks.

"I’ve had to cancel live music events and more bookings over the next four weeks.

"But with how quickly the virus is spreading I agree with the closures as we would just carry on.

"Some places are continuing to do take outs only but I don’t understand how this would work for us due to social distancing rule at would be difficult to keep reminding everyone to stay 2m apart without creating a sour atmosphere.

"It is also impossible to get our daily food supplies from shops.

"I’m hoping help is available quickly and smoothly for us so my staff feel safe.

"And all my lovely loyal customers will return and I will feel comforted that business will resume when COVID-19 is brought under control."

Hawthorne Leisure opened the Weavers Rest in Atherton after a £64,500 refurbishment two weeks ago and Elliotts in Tyldesley last week after a £180,000 makeover.

A Hawthorn Leisure spokesman said: “We pride ourselves on being at the heart of the communities we operate in, and that has never been truer than in the last few days.

"We will continue to find new ways over the coming months to support the people in our communities.

“We would like to thank our pub partners, managers and our teams for their resilience.

"We will come out of this stronger, and ready for the biggest knees up in the pub.”