Lancashire has agreed a deal to move into Tier 3 – the top level of England Covid restrictions – from Saturday.
The “very high” alert level measures include pub closures and bans on household mixing indoors, in private gardens and most outdoor venues.
However, gyms and leisure centres would not close, unlike in Liverpool – the other area in England in Tier 3.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government had “worked intensively with local leaders” to agree the move.
He added that an “unrelenting rise in cases” in the area had meant “we must act now”.
Around 1.5 million people will be affected by the new rules, which includes Blackburn, Blackpool, Burnley, Lancaster and Preston.
Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, told the BBC: “It’s been a long drawn out process but I think we’ve got a good deal.”
“What we’ve been able to do is to convince government that the measures we have in place to monitor such things as the gyms and the leisure centres are sufficient to ensure that they’re not a source of infection.”