British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected next week to outline a new three-tier lockdown system as rates of coronavirus infection surge particularly in northern England.
His chief strategic adviser Edward Lister on Friday wrote to MPs representing seats in northern England, following a meeting with regional leaders, to warn them it was very likely the region will have to submit to tougher rules.
“The government will discuss a set of measures with local leaders all of which present difficult choices,” he wrote, with meetings continuing over the weekend.
The three-tier system is meant to clarify the patchwork of rules for England that has evolved since infection rates started to climb again in September, according to reports.
The new highest level for England, tier three, is expected to go beyond existing restrictions such as a curfew for pubs, and close hospitality venues altogether.
No social contact would be allowed outside a person’s own household, including outdoors.
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson told the BBC on Saturday that he expected the northern city to go into a tier-three lockdown from Tuesday.
He said the government had at least given them sort of notice this time. “But the main point of the imposition of the measures are clearly that: imposition. We have not be consulted.”
The government on Friday said it would pay up to two-thirds of staff monthly wages to firms forced to close over the winter months.