PUBS and bars in Lancashire will close from tomorrow after it was agreed the county would be placed into the 'very high' tier of lockdown.

The restrictions include the Lancaster district with areas such as Carnforth, Warton and the Kellets affected.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said an 'unrelenting rise in cases in Lancashire' meant 'we must act now'.

"We have worked intensively with local leaders to agree on additional restrictions," he said.

Infection rates in Lancashire are among the highest in the country.

The new restrictions will come into force from midnight tonight, and mean:

- People must not socialise with anybody they do not live with or have formed a support bubble with in any indoor setting or in any private garden, or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.

- People must not socialise in a group of more than six in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue.

- All pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals.

- People should try to avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level or entering a very-high alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey.

- Residents should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and others should avoid staying overnight in the very high alert area.

In addition, following discussions with local leaders, it was agreed that from midnight on Monday, October 19:

- The adult gaming industry, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers and betting shops, and soft play areas must close.

- Car boot sales will not be permitted.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: "The latest data suggests there will be more people in mechanical ventilation beds in Lancashire within two weeks than there were in the first wave.

"This is as a result of infections which have already happened, rather than a prediction – underlining the need for urgent action now to prevent the epidemic in Lancashire rising even further."

The spokesman said the measures would be reviewed every 14 days 'to consider whether they are still appropriate' and that the Government would provide a local authority support package worth £12 million to help the county.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “I know how heavy these additional challenges will weigh on everyday life for the people of Lancashire – but they are critical in bringing this virus under control.

“Without them, we risk the health of your loved ones, your most vulnerable, and your local NHS services. Now is the time to play your part, and we will make sure you are supported.”