Shetland is among a number of Scottish regions likely to be in ‘level one’ when the new restrictions come into force on Monday.
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in a debate on the new “strategic framework” to tackle Covid-19, said that while most of the country would continue in level two, certain “exceptions” were being considered.
She listed Shetland, together with Orkney, the Western Isles, the Highlands and Moray, as those regions expected to enter level one, in recognition of their lower case numbers.
It would permit hospitality venues to serve alcohol indoors again – with a curfew for closing at 10.30pm and a requirement for table service only.
However, while the framework for level one also allows six people from two households to meet indoors, Ms Sturgeon said that would not apply immediately.
She said that following advice from public health experts, the current prohibition on household visits would remain in place “for a period” as an extra precaution.
Orkney MSP Liam MacArthur raised concern about the impact on island communities, who he said would find it difficult to meet up outside or in venues . He warned the restrictions could “reduce public confidence and possibly compliance” with the regulations.
Ms Sturgeon said she hoped the ban on household visits in level one would “hopefully be a short-term temporary change”.
She said the levels would be reviewed regularly.
Concluding her speech, Ms Sturgeon said: “Success against the virus will depend on all of us
“It is difficult and frustrating and getting more so by the day, especially as we head towards Christmas.
“But if we dig in now and perhaps get Covid under more control we perhaps open the door, not to 100 per cent normality by Christmas, but hopefully towards more than we have right now.
“We all want to see that.
“So please stick with it.”
She added: “All of us must try to be as patient as possible.
“Not being able to got the football or for a pint or out for a meal with friends.
“These are hard sacrifices but they will protect you and your loved ones, they will help protect the NHS and they will save lives.
“And right now that is what we must all pull together to seek to do.”
The debate is continuing in Holyrood.