“A LOT of landlords will see this as another nail in the coffin” – that’s the message of West Dorset Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Pubs and theatres in West Dorset have hit back after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people in the UK to stay clear in Monday’s press conference.

Mr Johnson set out the need for “drastic action” to tackle the “fast growth” of coronavirus across the UK as increased social distancing measures are rolled out.

Since then the Prime Minister along with the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak have unveiled a package of financial measures to help support the economy against the virus.

Steve Killingbeck of The Pymore Inn, said: “It’s business as usual until we have any official news.

“The government guidelines have been ambiguous – there’s been nothing to say we should close.

“We have posters up and have had to open with limited staff. I imagine we will have to close at the end of the week.

“It’s about to ruin the hospitality industry. We have Mother’s Day coming up and then there’s Easter. Everybody is cancelling, it’s a terrible time and we have no clear guidelines, there’s no direction.”

Meanwhile Wetherspoon pubs in West Dorset will be remaining open.

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Our pubs in Dorchester and Bridport will continue to trade as normal.

“We are fully aware of the threat of coronavirus and at present the government has not told pubs to close, so it is business as usual.

“We have told staff to ensure that they wash their hands regularly and also asked customers to do the same.

“There are signs in the pub reinforcing this.

“The pubs are being cleaned regularly and this includes regular cleaning of door handles and other points of contact.”

Dave Harris, Chairman of West Dorset CAMRA, said: “A lot of landlords will see this as another nail in the coffin.

“We just started to see a turn around with more pubs opening in the country than closing after 15 to 16 years. I thought they had turned a corner.

“Nobody is to blame; this is hitting everyone worldwide. It’s a difficult thing to respond to, I can’t see anymore clarity for pubs than I saw for airlines.

“Whatever the solution it’s not going to be easy or short term. For many people they will be thinking – if we close, we are finished. It’s very hard to know what else can be done.”

Businesses in West Dorset are finding ways to keep sales up during the virus outbreak.

Steve Attrill, said the Hive Beach Cafe, Watch House Cafe & The Club House are remaining open for business as usual and offering a takeaway and delivery service.

He said: ““We are committed to staying open, keeping our employees in work, and doing all we can to keep our cafes sanitised and safe for customers,” he said.

Leakers Bakery is open and delivering as usual. For those unable to shop, they can deliver free to customers in a three-mile radius. Call 01038 423296.

Beach and Barnicott in South Street have announced that they’re going to close on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings unless they have bookings, meanwhile, they will be open as usual on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday between 9.30am and 4pm.

The restaurant/bar will also be launching a new online ordering system. Orders can be made via the website, Facebook, on android and IOS.

R.J.Balson & Sons, the family butchers of Bridport, will be remaining open and celebrating the business’ 505th birthday.

Richard Balson said: “We are now approaching 505 years in business. During that time, we have survived plagues, wars, fires, floods. Recessions and many health scares along the way. “Now this coronavirus is the latest obstacle in our path. We keep positive and with common sense hope to overcome this virus.”

“We remain open and strive to serve our great Bridport public with locally sourced meats and produce.

“To celebrate our 505th birthday we will be making a new sausage called the 505.”

Longs Fish and Chips in Bridport will be running a takeaway service.

A spokesman for the fish and chip shop said: “Both of our takeaways are open at present until told otherwise by the government, restaurant facilities at King Street are still available, it is up to the customer.

“We take telephone orders for people who do not want to wait in the shops.”

Brassica Restaurant in Beaminster has closed its doors but will deliver meals.

Bearkat in Barrack Street is offering free coffee to NHS staff.

Rise in West Bay and Swim in Lyme Regis have both closed but will offer a takeaway service at the weekend.

Footeprints will continue as normal for the time being and can arrange delivery.

Nantes solicitors is fully open and intends to be permanently. It is meeting with clients if necessary.

See what west Dorset communities are doing to keep the vulnerable and elderly safe here and find out which venues have closed here.

This article has been corrected following a typo. The Bridport News would like to apologise to West Dorset Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) for this error.