The government has been accused of creating “doubt and uncertainty” with its announcement of tighter lockdown restrictions in north-east England.
People who break the new law against mixing socially, which comes into force on Wednesday amid a spike in Covid-19 cases, face a maximum £6,400 fine.
Mixing between households in any indoor setting, including pubs, is banned.
But Newcastle City Council’s leader said a lack of detail has led people to spread “half truths and myths”.
“I’m not disputing that they need to act quickly but one of the things that undermines this is the principle of community consent,” said Nick Forbes.
“The sense that we’re all collectively buying into these measures because we can see that they protect us all – is if there’s a gap between what’s announced in headlines and the details that people can understand.
“What that does is sow confusion, it creates doubt, it creates uncertainty.”
Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon said he had been “inundated” by people calling asking for details.
“It is a bit chaotic how these things happen,” he said.
Households in the region had already been advised to avoid mixing but the new ban will be enforced with the fines.
People aged over 18 taking part in an illegal gathering could be fined £200 for their first offence, which would be halved if paid within 14 days.
Second offences would incur a £400 fine, which would then double for each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £6,400.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons that cases in the region had “risen sharply” and the rate of infections was now more than 100 cases per 100,000.
Mr Hancock said the legal restrictions came “at the request of the local councils with whom we have been working closely”.