Liverpool City Region's mayor says he is "hopeful" the area will not be placed back in the highest level of Covid-19 restrictions when the second national lockdown ends.
Steve Rotheram insisted it would be "unacceptable" to be put back into tier three.
Cases in the area have fallen sharply amid a pilot of mass testing in Liverpool.
Boris Johnson is due to announce new regional restrictions on Thursday.
Mr Rotheram said people in the region had responded after being told their efforts in recent months could give them the "prize" of "getting out of the highest tier before Christmas".
He said: "We certainly hope that we won't be going back into the highest tier. We hope all the hard work will have paid off when the tiers are announced.
"It would be absolutely unacceptable given all the hard work and progress for us to go back into a higher tier.
"Where we were and where we are now are two different places."
His comments came after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said coronavirus cases in Liverpool had come down "quite remarkably".
Mr Rotheram said infections were now running at about 180 cases per 100,000 people, below the national average.
The Labour mayor said before the previous tier three arrangement was introduced in October some areas in the region had infection rates of 750, prompting fears the virus was out of control.
Cases in the city have since fallen by more than two-thirds,