Londoners will be banned from mixing indoors with anyone outside their household from midnight on Friday into Saturday, as the government escalated the capital’s coronavirus level to tier two.
The move means nearly nine million people will no longer be able to socialise in pubs and restaurants with anyone they do not live with.
London MPs were informed of the decision by the government in a conference call on Thursday morning.
Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, has been warning for some time that the rising infection rate in the city would mean stricter measures would be needed.
England’s three-tier system involves the country being put into different categories labelled as medium, high or very high risk.
The medium level maintains current national restrictions, the high level sees households banned from mixing indoors, while the third tier involves harsher restrictions including the closure of bars.
HuffPost UK understands that the new restrictions will include all of London and that no borough will be exempt.
A government source said: “London escalation plan has always been to try to work with all boroughs together.”
Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow in Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also move to the “high” alert level from 00.01 on Saturday.
A political row has meant no decision has been made on moving Greater Manchester into tier 3, the highest alert level, which would see pubs and bars not serving food forced to close.
Lancashire MPs have been told that the region will stay under tier 2 restrictions, despite speculation it would move into tier 3.
Ellie Reeves, the Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge was among the MPs on Thursday’s conference call.
She tweeted: “Just got off the call with the minister. London will be moving to tier 2 at the weekend, with no mixing of households inside.”
Khan used a letter to the PM to call for a support package for London from the government, as local authorities will be expected to enforce new rules.
It says: “It is vital London has the resources to engage, explain, encourage and enforce heightened restriction and support compliance.
“One London borough has done some specific work to estimate the cost of providing that service for six months from November onward and it is £300k over and above the allocation that was recently made to councils for support to compliance.
“I am aware that these are discussions that have taken place with other areas that have had restrictions in place and London government would expect to have those discussions as well.”
Labour shadow minister and Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said the new restrictions in London would keep businesses open “in name only” because households would be banned from mixing as he called for more economic support.
“There are lots of restaurants, pubs, bars and other venues whose doors will be open but customers will just not be walking through the door,” he said.
“That’s why the government’s economic support for businesses needs to live up to the reality of the lockdown restrictions.”