HOTELS across Scotland face being forced to shut their doors until well into the new year, it has been warned. 

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said footfall will be largely wiped out due to travel restrictions while alcohol bans are also having an impact.

He said: "This is leaving many with no option but to close, some for the three-week period, many for beyond that period and well into the new year."

More than two million Scots are preparing to be plunged into near-lockdown from 6pm on Friday, as 11 council areas including Glasgow move to level four restrictions. 

Ministers hope the move will help contain the virus and potentially allow rules to be loosened over the Christmas period. 

Scots in level three and level four areas will be banned from travelling outside their council area, although there are a range of exceptions.

Mr Crothall said he has had several calls with hoteliers and hotel associations since the new rules were announced. 

He said: "There’s obviously a great deal of uncertainty around what tier these hotels might go into after the three-week period when restrictions are reviewed, coupled with the fact that businesses are losing what would have been a significant amount of income in the run up to the festive period; many I believe will close their doors over the next couple of days until the end of January as the costs of remaining open with trading at such an unviable level are just too high.

"The hotels I’ve spoken to have told me that the cancellations are already flooding in too as guests remain unsure of what will or won’t be possible so all are running the numbers to establish whether it is viable to stay open and with demand already at a very low level for this time of year, it would seem highly likely that most will close for at least the next few months.

"This is undoubtedly the most desperate time for our industry since the crisis unfolded with all businesses keen to learn the detail of the Scottish Government’s support package, the headlines of which were announced yesterday and I am hopeful that by tomorrow we will have more clarity on that and a timescale for businesses to apply for funding.”