Business leaders and politicians across Tayside and Fife said they were horrified by the prospect of a Scottish-wide lockdown.
Angus Council leader David Fairweather described recent events as “utter chaos”.
The county had been relieved to be placed in Tier 2 restrictions from yesterday, after suggestions it could be made subject to neighbouring Dundee’s more stringent terms.
He said: “Where we are going with this now is absolutely just mind-blowing for me, it really is.
“It must be mind-blowing for a lot of people hearing what is going on today.
“They must be thinking ‘what on earth is going on with our politicians?’
“Here we are on day one of the new tier system and we are hearing it could all change already.
“I just think it really should be given a chance to see if case numbers fall.”
Mr Fairweather said the notion politics could influence such a decision is hard to accept.
He said: “Politics should not be coming in to this. It should not be playing a big part in decisions relating to health – we should be looking at it area by area.
“Angus has low rates like in some other parts of the country, so possibly moving into a Tayside-wide Tier 3 didn’t seem particularly fair to start with.”
The leader of Perth and Kinross Council, who last week also battled to keep his region out of Tier 3, said a national lockdown would be a “bitter pill to swallow”.
However, Murray Lyle accepted Scotland-wide Tier 4 restrictions could be needed to prevent local hospitals from reaching breaking point.
Speaking after a surge in cases across the region, including outbreaks at Perth High School, Perth Grammar School, Goodlyburn Primary and at Simon Howie’s main factory in Dunning, he said it was “disappointing” to hear that national measures were being considered.
He added: “I fully understand that there is a national concern that our health service could become overwhelmed and, if a lockdown is deemed appropriate, we should make every effort to adhere to it.
“We need to get this over and done with sooner rather than later, so potentially we can all have some kind of Christmas.
“There has been a significant escalation in local cases from a week ago, when we were preparing for decisions around tiers. We have about five or six schools now which have been affected in some way – we didn’t have that problem a week ago.
“It will be a bitter pill to swallow, given we don’t have the prevalence of the virus that other areas have, but if it’s part of the greater good then we should make every effort to support it.”
Fife Licensed Trade Association secretary Jeff Ellis said pub and restaurant owners have taken a “fatalistic” view.
He said the situation was difficult enough for the licensed trade and moving further towards lockdown would be the final straw for many.
He said furlough assistance would go a long way to helping many businesses but that it
was too late for some.
“For years now the licensed trade has been an easy one for politicians to kick and this is another example of people wanting to be seen to be doing something.
“I would love to be positive but the more I read, the more it looks grim, and that’s without talking about what’s next on the horizon – Brexit.”
Fife Council’s co-leader David Alexander said: “We should only go to lockdown if it was required to suppress the virus and with the realisation that not every business or job can be protected.
“In terms of the suppression of the virus the position in Scotland and Fife is that we seem to be in a better position than most of the UK though it is still fragile.
“We do not need to go into lockdown right now but if we did we must receive the same financial support which is made available to other parts of the UK.”