PUB bosses in Weymouth say they are terrified for their livelihoods following the introduction of a controversial 10pm curfew, saying: "This could be the final nail in our coffin."

Pubs, restaurants and bars are now banned from opening past 10pm as part of government measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

But Stephen and Judi Perry, owners of Finns, said the curfew has had a devastating effect on their business.

They said: "As it stands, we are losing four and a half hours a day of our optimum trading time and this is going to be devastating to our business.

"Not only is Finns our livelihood but our home as well so we are very worried and concerned as to our future.

"We feel this may be the final nail in our coffin."

The reduced serving hours combined with the additional time it takes to explain the new rules to customers has been a challenge for staff at The William Henry.

Manager Jye Dixey said: "We have to do a lot of explaining to customers at the door which takes so much time. We would also normally stay open until 1.00am at the weekends so we are losing three hours worth of business which is tough.

"The law seems to be changing all the time so being able to adapt to those changes has been our biggest challenge.

"Our customers are observing all the rules though and we haven't had any incidents with groups of more than six or people refusing to leave before 10pm."

Despite widespread national reports of customers leaving venues and loitering in the streets, Sophie Crook, bar supervisor at The Kings Arms, has been been pleased with the way her customers have behaved.

She said: "I haven't noticed any crowds of people gathering in the streets after the pubs and restaurants close. I leave after work at about 10.30pm and there haven't been many people on the streets which is good.

"The pressure of having to get everyone out of the bar by 10pm is quite high. On Friday and Saturday we had a few customers who were being slow and cuddling their drinks for half an hour so we had to keep reminding people that they had to be out by the curfew.

"We are losing an hour of business on Fridays and Saturdays which is a shame because we are losing a lot of money, but on the whole I think we are coping okay."

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: "We have made no arrests in relation to groups of more than six or pubs, restaurants and bars staying open later than the 10pm curfew.

"We continue to use the four Es - to engage, educate and encourage with out community and business. We will only use enforcement as a very last resort."