Council leaders in the Highlands and Moray have spoken of their delight as the region remains at level one restrictions.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday that restrictions would remain the same for the next three weeks – and added an increase in numbers allowed to gather for outdoor socialising.
Eight people from three households are now allowed to meet.
Margaret Davidson, leader of Highland Council, welcomed the news but said the move will be tough on local businesses who were eager for the festive trade.
She said: “Staying in level one is okay but it’s going to be tough on businesses with Christmas and New Year coming.
“They are now making it against the law to travel between level three and four and the rest of Scotland.
“They are saying it’s sharp and we hope we can ease up a bit for Christmas but for people who were hoping to make a bit of money over Christmas with holiday lettings, it’s really tough.”
She added: “What I am following up is the funding that’s being made available for businesses. I have been forwarding that to a couple of council officers saying is it reasonable, can we get more money out the door and can we do something to help folks through this.”
Graham Leadbitter, leader of Moray Council, shared in Mrs Davidson’s delight but stressed that recent outbreaks in cases cemented how hard the community has to work to maintain this.
He said: “The announcement that Moray is to remain at level one is very good news. In the last couple of weeks there has been a little bit of an increase in cases mainly due to a couple of school related incidents but overall the region has very low numbers of cases.
“While the vast majority of people are abiding by the rules and restrictions, the increase in cases in the last fortnight should act as a warning about how hard we need to work to keep on top of this.
“We all want to stay at level one so need everyone across the region to do all that they can to help us achieve that.”