Level 4 restrictions to come into play on Boxing Day could be the final nail in the coffin for some north and north-east businesses.
Industry bosses warned of the impact the next national lockdown would have on their livelihoods.
DaVinci Italian restaurant owner Elena Ionascu said: “We’ve tried so hard to survive but it just seems impossible now.
“This year we don’t even have one booking for a Christmas meal.”
The few reservations the restaurant had secured over the festive period have now all had to be cancelled, leading Mrs Ionascu to close down and donate the remainder of her stocks to food banks.
‘Unemployment will skyrocket’
Stuart McPhee, director of Siberia Bar and Hotel and spokesman for Aberdeen Hospitality Together added: “Businesses across not just Aberdeen but Scotland will be asking what support is going to be there for us, we have perfectly functioning businesses that play a vital role in raising taxes that pay for public services.
“We are a sector that has seen the least amount of funding come to us out of all the four nations in the UK and I think that needs to be brought back into balance.
“We will need to engage with the furlough scheme to keep staff, but if at the end of the day there are no businesses for staff to be furloughed to, unemployment will skyrocket.”
Further north hospitality and retail businesses across Moray and the Highlands were preparing to bear the brunt of a second lockdown in Scotland.
Tony Story, Highland hotelier and owner of the Kingsmils Hotel Group, revealed plans to close the Kingsmills Hotel over the festive period in the hopes of a brighter start to the tourism season.
The Inverness hotel is one of hundreds of businesses across the north facing a harsh start to the winter as a three-week nationwide lockdown comes into effect from Boxing Day.
Mr Story said: “Trying to take the positives as I always do, if this action does resolve matters I would rather be in restricted areas for the first quarter of next year as opposed to the second or third quarters. The first quarter of the year was always going to be difficult so in some ways it gives a bit of clarity.
“We are going to close both hotels. To have two hotels open for occasional key workers it just doesn’t make any sense going forward.
“We would lose even more money so our plan is just to hunker down, close down and make full use of the furlough scheme and see what happens on January 16.”
He added: “The Highlands and Inverness have had a fantastic run since July 15. We’ve done under the circumstances pretty well.
“There will be casualties along the way. I have already put one business into liquidation over this Covid period and that’s an extremely painful thing to do so we just have to keep going and hope that we can start to open up come early next year.”
‘It is the right thing to do’
Ian Watson and his wife Rena, owners of Cullen Bay Hotel in Moray, have backed the tougher restrictions as they believe people’s health is the “top priority”.
Mr Watson said: “It is the right thing to do as people’s safety comes first and foremost and certainly takes priority over anything else.
“It is going to be a struggle there is no doubt about it but I always thought from day one that January, February and March in 2021 would be a make or break for many businesses.
“This pandemic has been the hardest trial we have ever faced while running this businesses.”