Boris Johnson will tomorrow put a 10pm curfew on all English restaurants, pubs and hospitality venue in an attempt to curb surging coronavirus rates.
The new rules, which will come into force on Thursday, will also see the hospitality sector restricted to table service only.
The intervention comes after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases across the country, which has prompted fears of a second wave.
Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said today that cases are doubling every seven days and that cases would hit 50,000 a day if this rate continued.
Vallance said this would likely lead to around 200 coronavirus deaths a day by November.
Chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty, meanwhile, said the country would have a “very serious problem” if “we do not change course”.
Johnson will hold an emergency Cobra meeting tomorrow with the heads of devolved governments, before announcing the new restrictions.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “No one underestimates the challenges the new measures will pose to many individuals and businesses.
“We know this won’t be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus and protect the NHS.”
Michael Kill, the chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said the new restrictions would drive more young people to socialise at illegal gatherings and worsen the spread of the virus.
“Rumours have been circulating about the government enforcing curfews as a measure to control the pandemic for many weeks now,” he said.
“Further restrictions on the businesses that are open will devastate the sector and will only compound the current issues faced by businesses that are closed and unable to open.”
The UK’s Covid alert level has also shifted up from level three to level four on the advice of the country’s four chief medical officers.
Level four means that “social distancing continues” and that “transmission is high or rising exponentially”.
Level five, the highest level, would lead to a new sweeping lockdown being imposed.