All mass gatherings and sports events are set to be banned from next weekend.
Emergency legislation, due to be passed next week, is also expected to include compensation for organisations forced to cancel events.
The move puts events such as Glastonbury, VE Day commemorations, Wimbledon, the Grand National and Royal Ascot under threat.
Despite the ban on large gathering, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said schools would remain open.
There is no detail about which events will be impacted and how many people would make a “mass gathering”, but Boris Johnson is likely to follow Scotland which has enforced a limit of 500.
Care homes, including 120 Bupa facilities, announced they would close their doors to outside residents.