THE Wee County's council leader has made an emotional appeal for people to stick with the tighter restrictions imposed across the central belt last week.

The Advertiser caught up with Ellen Forson in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon's announcement, which closed hospitality businesses for more than two weeks.

Cllr Forson said: "Whether it's meeting friends and family indoors or the new restrictions on hospitality will be really difficult.

"But there is a funding package being made available, we are waiting actually at the moment at the council to get the details of that.

"We'll do the same as we did with the previous funding packages, we'll divert resources onto that to make sure businesses get the support they are due as quickly as possible.

"It' just really difficult and we've all had to endure so much.

"I personally felt really down the other night after the new restrictions were [announced], but my thought is: we've just got to stick with it, we've got to get through this and appreciate that things are being done for a reason.

"The scientific advice that's informing government decisions is pretty clear."

She added that last Friday's Scottish Government briefing highlighted that 26 per cent of transmissions are taking in a hospitality setting, something that "cannot be ignored".

Cllr Forson added: "Hopefully, short-term restrictions on these businesses will be able to see us through to them re-opening again for a wider customer base."

Looking ahead, the council leader said: "You cannot predict what this virus is going to do, you can only do some modelling.

"But we are currently about four weeks behind France and six weeks behind Spain and if you look at what happened back in March, that's exactly the pattern that we followed and it is likely that we would be doing so again.

"I hope it doesn't get to that because the restrictions that have been implemented there are a lot stricter than we are seeing here, but I don't know if you can rule anything out just now."

Travel restrictions are not being imposed at this time; however, people are being urged to keep it to a minimum, especially when it comes to public transport.

Residents across the central belt – including the health board areas of Forth Valley, Lothian, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran as well as Greater Glasgow & Clyde – are being asked not to travel outside the five regions unless they absolutely need to.

The council leader said: "If people have got breaks booked already that's absolutely fine to do that, but the opportunity over the school holiday period is to stay in your local area as much as possible to prevent the possible transmission of the virus during that time."