More businesses in Perth and Kinross have admitted defeat in the face of continuing coronavirus restrictions.
It was feared the region would be moved into the toughest tier this week, after a sharp rise in Covid cases at the end of last month.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday the numbers had “stabilised” and appeared to be improving.
However, she stopped short of moving Perth and Kinross out of level three.
A pair of prominent establishments have announced a temporary shutdown, with hopes of reopening as soon as the county moves down a tier.
Karen Alcorn, who runs the Perth Arms in Dunkeld with husband Ewan, said: “We had tried to stay open and provide a service to the local community, somewhere they could come in and have a coffee and a light lunch.
“But to be honest, by the end of the second week of level three it just wasn’t sustainable. It was costing us more money to stay open, so there didn’t seem to be much point going on like that.”
She said: “I’ve been here all my life, and the Perth Arms has been in our family for well over 50 years, so we know everyone and everyone knows us. It’s a local bar, first and foremost.
“From July, when we reopened, right up to the end of September and start of October, it was really well supported. We’ll never make up for the four months we were closed, but it was really heartwarming to see the support that we were getting.”
She said: “We just hope we won’t have to stay closed for long. It is frustrating because you just can’t plan ahead. With Christmas coming up, we are getting asked if we are going to be open and you just don’t know what to say.”
So far this year, the Cherrybank Inn in Perth has battled through lockdown, tough safety restrictions and a flood which caused £30,000 of damage.
But owner Scott Findlay said he was left with little option but to temporarily close.
“Basically, it was pointless for us to continue running as a cafe. That’s not our business model.
“During lockdown, we invested a lot of money because we wanted to progress the business at the same time as making it a safe environment for staff and customers.
“But we weren’t making any money serving meals and soft drinks. It just wasn’t working for us.”
Mr Findlay said: “At the end of the day, we’re a pub and we’ve tried to adjust to all of the restrictions. But when there’s no alcohol and we have to close at 6pm, it’s just not possible for us to carry on like that.”
“I just thought, ‘let’s just close until the restrictions ease a bit’.
“Level two, where we were serving alcohol with food, was working well for us and it would be good to get back to that at least.”
Other local establishments which have temporarily shut include the Gleneagles Hotel, which is expected to stay closed until early next year.
Commenting on the decision to keep the region in level three, local MSP and Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “It is encouraging to see that case numbers have stabilised and are moving in the right direction.
“Last week, there was significant concern regarding the trajectory that Perth and Kinross was on, particularly compared to other areas of the country.
“Thanks to sacrifices and vigilance of people across the region, we are now hopefully in a position to continue to build upon the progress being made.”