People in Oldham, Blackburn and parts of Pendle will be told not to socialise with anyone from outside their household from midnight on Saturday to slow the spread of coronavirus.
While a feared local lockdown was avoided, the Department of Health and Social Care said the measures mean social activities indoors and outdoors can only be shared by people who live in the same home.
No more than 20 people will be able to attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals made up of household members and close family only, and residents must avoid public transport except for essential travel.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said the approach “is to make the action we take as targeted as possible, with the maximum possible local consensus”.
He added: “The only way we can keep on top of this deadly virus is through decisive action led by the people who know their areas best, wherever possible through consensus with a local area.”
Oldham’s council leader said the town will not go into a full local lockdown.
Sean Fielding tweeted: “We have reached agreement with the government that Oldham will not go into full local economic lockdown.
“Some additional restrictions will be introduced, however.”
Meanwhile, measures will be relaxed in Wigan, Rossendale and Darwen, while Birmingham is added to a watch list as an “area of enhanced support” and Northampton becomes an “area of intervention”.