BUSINESS leaders have warned the decision to put Renfrewshire in the toughest tier of lockdown restrictions will have a devastating impact. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed yesterday that the area is being moved from level three to level four, which will mean a shutdown of all non-essential shops, as well as pubs, restaurants, hair salons, barbers, gyms and leisure centres.

The new rules, similar to a full lockdown, come into force at 6pm on Friday and will last until at least December 11.

Allan Henderson, chair of the Johnstone Business Consortium, said tier four restrictions will be “a disaster” for local traders.

He told The Gazette: “We’ve lost The Print Centre shop in Johnstone and most of the local market traders are gubbed.

“We’re offering as much help as we can to small businesses but you need to be a Philadelphia lawyer to make sense of most of these rules.”

Mr Henderson questioned why “mobbed” supermarkets will be allowed to stay open but “wee cornershops” have to close.

“The whole thing is ludicrous,” he added. “Tier four is going to be a disaster for local businesses, while the likes of Amazon are laughing all the way to the bank.”

Renfrewshire is one of 11 council areas being placed into Scotland’s highest tier of coronavirus restrictions, along with the likes of neighbouring Glasgow and East Renfrewshire.

Schools will stay open but non-essential travel into or out of the area will be banned – a rule which will become law from Friday.

Ms Sturgeon said the tougher restrictions are necessary as Renfrewshire has “stubbornly and worryingly high” infection rates.

She also said the intention is for a “short and sharp” clampdown.

“It is specifically intended to have an impact in advance of Christmas and the most challenging winter period,” added Ms Sturgeon.

“We will assess nearer the time the level that will apply in each area when the level four restrictions end on December 11.”