Hospitality businesses could be forced to close for at least two weeks under new social lockdown measures being considered for northern England and London.
The new plan follows the introduction of a 10pm curfew on hospitality venues, an initiative which has been widely condemned by hospitality operators, who have claimed it increases health risks as all guests are asked to leave at the same time.
The Times has reported that a government source said that though "the nation and the party wasn't ready for us to go any further last week", new restrictions may be introduced to tackle coronavirus spread.
They added: "There wasn't a wide enough understanding of how substantial the second wave could be. Unlike the first lockdown, nobody has seen pictures of body bags in Spain or France on the TV yet, which had a very powerful effect. You have to take people with you.
"Tougher measures on social interaction will have to come though. They're inevitable in some parts if you look at the numbers."
The areas under particular scrutiny include Merseyside, Greater Manchester, the north-east and Lancashire, while London is also on the watch list.
There is no indication what, if any, further support will be offered to businesses forced to close their doors again.