Lockdown restrictions are “completely illogical” in Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham the region’s mayor said after they were eased in three boroughs.
The measures were lifted overnight in Bolton, Stockport, and Trafford despite concerns from some local councils.
Mr Burnham said it meant boroughs with a rising number of cases were being freed from lockdown but neighbouring ones with lower numbers were not.
“We find ourselves in a completely unsustainable position”, he said.
Mr Burnham advised people in Bolton and Trafford to “continue to follow the guidance” not to have social gatherings in their home.
Mr Burnham said the restrictions were “always hard to explain to the public but they’re completely illogical now”.
“Overnight we’ve had restrictions released from two boroughs where we’ve got a rising number of cases – in one case in the red zone – and neighbouring boroughs are still under restrictions but with much lower numbers of cases”.
A Covid spike in Bolton and Trafford prompted council bosses to ask for restrictions to remain in place.
Bolton currently has one of the highest rates of new virus cases per 100,000 residents in England.
The rules were also eased in Burnley and Hyndburn in Lancashire and parts of Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees in West Yorkshire.
According to central government rules, different households can now meet indoors or private gardens in the areas where rules are being relaxed.
Businesses including bowling alleys and indoor play areas will also be able to reopen.
Measures were imposed at the end of July amid a rise in cases.