British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will order pubs and restaurants to shut across much of northern England, including in Manchester and Liverpool, from Monday in a bid to halt the spiralling COVID-19 outbreaks there, The Sun reported on Wednesday.
Britain, which has already suffered the highest death toll in Europe and the worst economic contraction of any leading nation, has reported more than 14 000 new cases of coronavirus a day in the last two days.
The Sun said hospitality would shut but schools, offices and shops would remain open.
Britain’s finance ministry is also finalising a new package of coronavirus support for the stricken hospitality industry, the Financial Times said late on Wednesday.
Johnson’s reported plans follow Scotland’s announcement that all pubs in Glasgow and Edinburgh must close for 16 days from Friday under the latest wave of COVID-19 restrictions.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would provide an additional 40 million pounds ($52 million) to support affected businesses.
Johnson is likely to face fierce resistance from lawmakers in his own party. Many consumer-facing business owners have warned that they will not survive if forced to shut again following a nationwide lockdown earlier this year.
Johnson will also launch a simplified three-tier local lockdown code, The Sun reported.
Areas in Tier 1 will continue with the current social distancing measures while areas in Tier 2 will have a ban on households mixing. The worst-affected areas in Tier 3 will have to close hospitality.