The cities of Lyon, Lille, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne will become zones of maximum alert from Saturday.
Bars and restaurants will have to close, as they did in Paris earlier this week and Marseille last month.
The measures were announced as France saw a near-record 18,129 new cases.
"The situation has deteriorated in several metropolises in recent days," French Health Minister Olivier Veran said at a news conference on Thursday. "Every day, more and more people are infected."