LEIGH MP James Grundy has welcomed the announcement that gyms, churches and salons can reopen but says "more support" is needed for the hospitality sector.

With a harsher 'three tier' system to come into force after the lockdown ends on December 2, the Conservative MP says pubs, restaurants and the wider hospitality sector will need further support.

Leigh will find out which tier it is to be placed into from next week on Thursday.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Mr Grundy said: "I strongly welcome the announcement that gyms, churches and hairdressers' salons can reopen in a COVID secure manner, under all tiers, as I have been lobbying for these changes for some time now with various ministers. I am pleased that I and other colleagues have been successful in securing these changes, and I am sure the changes will be warmly welcomed by both local businesses and the wider community.

"I also welcome the news that outdoor sports can resume across all tiers, that all retail outlets can reopen, and I am also glad that weddings can resume.

"We are still awaiting the exact details about Christmas, subject to negotiations with the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for a common approach, but I am optimistic families will be able to have a relatively normal Christmas this year.

"Whilst I welcome these changes, I still believe that more support needs to be given to pubs, restaurants and the wider hospitality sector, especially for those areas returning to tier 3 measures, and I have already raised this with the office of the Prime Minister."

The MP says there is now "a clear path back to normality" in the spring of 2021 with vaccines expected to be rolled out over the coming weeks and months.

He added: "I am very pleased that any return to full lockdown has now been ruled out. I have consistently stated my belief that the consequences of a full lockdown are too damaging, and we needed to find another way forward. I am pleased that the Government now shares my position on this matter.

"More work remains to be done, but there is now a clear path back to normality in spring of next year. As the vaccination programme is rolled out, starting with NHS staff, the elderly and the medically vulnerable, we can start to dismantle the COVID regulations and begin the process of rebuilding.

"It is my hope that the new year will bring both fresh hope, and a fresh start, as we begin to exit this crisis at last."