London is expected to return to Tier 2 restrictions when lockdown ends in early December.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today outline his plan for winter, which includes a strengthened three-tier system.

Mr Johnson announced the original three-tier strategy in October, which split different areas of England into medium, high and very high alert levels.

London was placed in tier two – high alert – which saw household mixing banned indoors while the rule of six continued to apply outdoors.

Tier 3 – very high alert – banned social mixing both indoors and in private gardens, while pubs and bars were told to close unless they could operate as a restaurant.

Johnson is expected to place London into a strengthened version of Tier 2 when the fate of local regions is announced on Thursday.

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The return to the same 'high' level as before November 5 would allow non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and gyms will be allowed to reopen.

However, businesses fear that a strengthened version of Tier 2 could end up looking like the previous Tier 3.

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, told the Evening Standard: "Reopening in a safe and sustainable way from 3 December is vital to ensure that retailers and leisure operators get the best possible opportunity to make up some of the billions in lost trade this season.

"In order for this to be most effective, we hope the Government recognises the latest figures we have seen in the capital and will see fit to place London at the very least in Tier 2, if not Tier 1."

Covid-19 case rates have started to fall in most local areas across England, except London and the south east.

It is still too soon to judge the full impact on case rates of the England-wide lockdown, however.

The nationwide restrictions began on November 5, and the most recent figures are for the week ending November 18 - just 14 days into the lockdown.

Given it can take up to two weeks for Covid-19 symptoms to appear, and further time for somebody to be tested and the result to be processed, more data is needed to be certain about how and where case rates are falling.

Of the 32 areas in London, 20 showed an increase in the week ending November 18, the biggest jumps being Havering (up from 309.4 to 386.0), Enfield (up from 175.6 to 230.4) and Redbridge (up from 249.0 to 300.4).