Gyms and hairdressers are slated to close level 4 starting at midnight – just days before Christmas.
At Level 4 from 12.01 AM Sunday, non-essential retail will be forced to close.
Indoor entertainment venues including gyms will be closed, as will indoor entertainment, hairdressers and nail bars.
More stringent restrictions will be imposed on social contact with regard to household mixing.
Only one person from one household will be allowed to meet another person from another home in an open public place eg a garden – not a park.
This could only be two people, although there is an exception for those with young children – as in the November lockdown.
These rules are valid for a period of two weeks when they will be reviewed.
The review is scheduled to take place on December 30 as part of a broader review of all restrictions.
The announcement comes after England’s chief medical officer confirmed that a new Covid-19 mutant strain is spreading more quickly – and urgent work is under way to see if it is more deadly.
Professor Chris Whitty said the United Kingdom has informed the World Health Organization of the new alternative.
At the moment, he said that there is no “current evidence” to indicate that the new strain causes a high mortality rate or affects vaccines, but work is underway to confirm this.