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Lancashire is to follow Liverpool in becoming only the second place in the UK to move into the strictest Tier 3 coronavirus lockdown, it is reported.
Pubs will close and people will not be allowed to meet anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space, under the strictest level of the Government's three tier system.
Sky News reports Lancashire is likely to be announced as the second area to move into Tier 3 restrictions, with an announcement expected within hours.
It is understood that discussions between the Government and local leaders are ongoing, with a financial package of support being worked on.
The Liverpool City region is the only place currently in Tier 3, with London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, North East Derbyshire, Erewash, Chesterfield, and York in Tier 2.
Under Tier 3, people are banned from socialising with other households both indoors and in private gardens.
Bars and pubs are closed, unless they can operate as restaurants.
In nearby Greater Manchester, the Mayor has said the region's leaders have "unanimously rejected" a Tier 3 lockdown.
Mayor Andy Burnham said northern cities would resist the tightening of measures without 80% job support because they don't want to be the "canaries in the coalmine".
The Government has been pushing for Greater Manchester's politicians to accept Tier 3 measures but local MPs and council chiefs have united in their criticism of the plan and the way Number 10 has handled it.
Mr Burnham also accused ministers of treating the north as a "sacrificial lamb".
The mayor quoted England's deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, who told northern leaders that a full national lockdown is the only real solution known to work.
Speaking at a press briefing in the city, Burnham said: "I've said it may be that we need to look at a national circuit-break as preferable to this unfunded, risky regional lockdown strategy.
"We have to protect the health of the nation but let's do it as one nation, and not make the North of England the sacrificial lamb for an ill-thought-through Downing Street policy which doesn't make sense in the real world."
The Mayor said people are "fed up of being treated in this way, the North is fed up of being pushed around."
He added: "Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire are being set up as the canaries in the coalmine for an experimental regional lockdown strategy as an attempt to prevent the expense of what is truly needed.
"The very least they should be offering the people of Greater Manchester who will be affected by these closures is a full and fair 80% furlough for all affected workers, 80% income support for people who are self-employed, and a proper compensation scheme for businesses.
"So far, they have not been prepared to offer that."
Lancashire was placed in Tier 2 earlier this week, Lancs.Live reports.
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