A PROMINENT Largs businesswoman is urging locals people to spend their money in the town as North Ayrshire was kept in Tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions.

Little Threads owner Rosemary Giovino says the decision to move east and South Ayrshire into level four due to rising case numbers mean the festive prospects are uncertain, with a slump in visitor numbers.

The trader hopes however the restrictions on travel will encourage more people to keep Largs' tills jingling in the run up to December 25.

She said: “It is great news that we have been kept in tier three and could perhaps even drop a level soon. It means that we are keeping a lid on the virus.

“However, from a business point of view, the lack of visitors because of increased restrictions elsewhere will have a big impact on the high street.

“The local shops are all full of Christmas stuff and if they don’t sell it is going to have a big effect on businesses.

“With so many areas of the central belt in level four, there will be a massive decrease in the numbers coming down to Ayrshire generally.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says there are signs of progress in North Ayrshire, and is quietly confident that the area could move to level two if the situation continues to improve.

Rosemary says she is hoping that the restrictions will encourage more residents to shop local.

She said: “People who normally travel to Glasgow to shop cannot do that now, so hopefully they will turn to the local shops.

“I would urge residents to not just go online looking for the cheapest deal, we need the support now more than ever.

“This is a time when the community needs to stick together and we want to make Christmas in the town as normal as possible.

“If businesses are not receiving the support of locals and selling their stock, events such as the Largs market would not be able to run.”

Councillor Ian Murdoch, of the Largs Events Committee, says his focus is ensuring residents can have the best Christmas possible given the circumstances.

He said: “It’s a relief that we have stayed in level three because it gives us a slight element of freedom compared to four which is a lot more restrictive.

“Saying that, the guidance remains that we should not travel outside our council area.

“As chair of Largs Events, my focus at this moment is to make sure that everyone remains safe and that we try and have the best Christmas possible.

“If we all stick to the rules and work hard together, when we get to Christmas I am hoping that the numbers will have dropped further and North Ayrshire can go into Tier 2.”