NHS Grampian has limited hospital visiting to one named person per patient amid rapidly rising coronavirus infections.
The health board announced the sudden change on Thursday at 6pm with restrictions coming into force from Friday.
The limitation will affect all hospitals in the area with the named visitor to be the same person for all visits.
NHS Grampian said virtual visiting remains an option.
The health board has seen a surge in positive cases recently, in line with much of the country.
There have been 789 reported Covid-19 infections in NHS Grampian in the three days to Wednesday, June 30.
On Tuesday, NHS Highland announced it was experiencing “extreme systems pressures” due to increasing numbers of staff self-isolating with positive Covid-19 contacts.
Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire has been hit by 13 business closures due to outbreaks of coronavirus in what locals described as a “huge loss”.
A spokesperson for the health board said: “We will continue to take a person-centred approach to visiting, especially where patients are vulnerable, have additional support needs, or are receiving End of Life care.
“Should the named visitor become unwell – with symptoms of Covid-19 or any other illness – they should not visit and other arrangements can be made.
“Families are encouraged to have a conversation with the appropriate senior nurse or midwife to understand what is possible in individual clinical areas/services before visiting.”