Leaders across the North have criticised the government’s plans and said ministers are treating the region as “second-class”.
Millions of people could be banned from mixing inside and outside and thousands of pubs might be forced to close under new coronavirus restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to outline a new three-tiered system of restrictions on Monday, with measures expected to force pubs and restaurants to shut across the north of England.
Under the proposed system, different parts of the country would be placed in different categories, with areas in the highest level expected to face the toughest measures.
Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor of the Tees Valley, has said third tier restrictions are expected to run in four-week blocks.
Pubs and bars would be required to close and no household mixing would be allowed for socialising either indoors or outdoors.
The move could affect millions of people living in areas with high COVID-19 rates across England.
Real estate adviser Altus Group has said there are 7,171 pubs in areas with restrictions across the north of England at risk of temporary closure.
Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, said he has been in discussions with Number 10 about placing the city into the third tier, according to The Sunday Telegraph.
It comes amid mounting concern over the number of cases and the capacity of intensive care units at hospitals in the area.
However, leaders across northern England have criticised the government’s wider plans and said ministers are treating the region as “second-class”.
They have also not ruled out legal action.
Westminster has been drawing up proposals to give mayors more powers over the Test and Trace system to try to secure the support of northern leaders, The Sunday Times reports.
Details of the plans were being thrashed out between ministers and mayors on Saturday amid warnings that immediate action is needed to stop the NHS being swamped in the North, the newspaper added.
People were seen socialising in city centres across the UK – including Liverpool, Newcastle and London – on Saturday evening head of potential pubs closures.