Andy Burnham insists Greater Manchester residents should not yet cancel their Christmas parties.
The mayor’s comments follow the news of two suspected cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant in Bolton.
‘Highly probable’ cases of the strain were detected in the borough and the people concerned are self-isolating with their families.
Burnham held a press conference on Tuesday to provide an update on the region’s response.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week told people they can continue socialising, despite introducing new restrictions of making masks mandatory on public transport and in shops.
Burnham acknowledged the hit taken by the hospitality industry during the pandemic and wants to avoid a regression back to the state of last year.
“Following some statements made by, principally, the deputy chief medical officer around socialising, there is a concern in the hospitality industry that already there has been an impact on bookings for Christmas and events,” Burnham said.
“There’s also been an impact on hotel reservations.
“I think it’s important that we put a view out from our perspective so that we don’t get back to where we were last year, where the industry was struggling, as we know.
While Burnham has urged caution, he believes while the situation is fluid, there is no need to hastily cancel events and parties as we approach the busy Christmas period.
“We don’t believe given the current evidence, though we stress it may change as we learn more about Omicron, that there is a need for people to overreact.
“People should get in the habit of taking regular lateral flow tests. But if the right measures are taken and people are careful, there is no reason for people to cancel events or bookings.
“We would encourage people not to do that as long as they are also taking those necessary precautions.”