PUBS in west Dorset have spoken of feeling 'victimised' by new coronavirus rules after the entire county was controversially placed in Tier 2 restrictions - forcing some to stay shut.

MPs voted on Tuesday evening to make the restrictions official - despite rebellion from 55 Tory MPs including West Dorset MP Chris Loder - meaning pubs are unable to serve alcohol unless it comes with a 'substantial' meal.

Graham Taylor, owner of the Tiger Inn in Bridport, said: "It does feel like we’ve been victimised to be honest. If you look around the average street every shop is open, every restaurant is open and every pub which serves food is open. It's only the bars and pubs which don't serve food that aren't open.

"We don't sell food so we can't open, it feels unfair and quite disappointing.

"It was a shock to be put in Tier 2 considering the amount of cases we have locally. We have a long hard winter ahead of us and this isn’t helping.

He added: “We’ve lost an awful amount of money already over the past month. We haven’t been making any money but we’ve still had to pay paying out just to keep the lights on."

Others have opened their doors to customers - but feared the restrictions would still hit them hard.

Gail Kane, landlady of the Greyhound in Beaminster, said: “Pubs and bars definitely seem to have been hit the hardest with the latest restrictions.

“It’s going to be difficult for us as we’re going to miss everyone coming in for drinks – not everyone can afford a meal with every drink.

"We’ve such a small town and everyone knows each other and now they can’t mix – they can see each other and have a chat in the Co-op but not down the pub.

"I can’t imagine we’ll be making a profit – of at least not much of a profit – its not going to be a great month."

Hannah Schep, landlady at the Three Horseshoes in Burton Bradstock, said: “Tier 2 is something of a no man's land of a tier for hospitality, we feel a responsibility to open but restrictions make it virtually impossible to make money.

“December is always very busy down here – even if it was just the rule of 6 we could still have all the groups in but instead we can only have small groups in their own households.

"It does feel as if we’re being scapegoated somewhat – you can come in here and have a cup of coffee but not a pint – I suppose the idea is that you can catch Covid whilst drinking alcohol but not coffee.

"We lose all of our local drinkers who don’t necessarily want to eat every time they have a pint of ale, that comradery and banter and everything else a local pub should have is just gone.

“Hopefully we’ll get through and start 2021 afresh and be back to normal before too long.”