The government is said to be deliberating the introduction of tougher restrictions for parts of England that would be announced as early as next week.
According to reports from the BBC, the closure of pubs and restaurants is a possibility in the worst-affected areas.
There could also be a ban on overnight stays away from home in these areas, which could have a devastating impact on the hotel sector.
Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne have the highest infection rates in the country.
A decision on the time frame or extent of potential closures has not been made, and a formal announcement is not likely to come until at least Monday, the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg has learned.
The government is also looking at introducing a three-tier system for local lockdowns.
Under the rules, different parts of the country would be place in different categories and restrictions applied accordingly.