A BAR in Weymouth town centre which has been open for less than two years has temporarily closed - while the venue's manager has confirmed his departure.

Hardy's Hop House, in St Thomas Street, closed at the weekend due to an 'unbelievable' staff shortage, according to departing leaseholder and manager Keith Foose.

Hardy's, which is owners Marston's said is 'temporarily' closed, is the latest business to be hit hard by staff shortages.

Dorset Echo: Hardy's Hop House, in St Thomas Street, Weymouth. Pic: Sam McKeownHardy's Hop House, in St Thomas Street, Weymouth. Pic: Sam McKeown

Marston's has confirmed a new leaseholder has been appointed, but they could not confirm when it will reopen.

Mr Foose, who opened Hardy's in February 2020, said he is quitting next week after admitting lockdown has made him 'lose his passion' for the job.

He said: "We opened in February last year just before the first lockdown - and looking back it was a rough time. Since reopening fully, we've struggled to get staff. It's been unbelievably difficult and my team are burnt out."

However, Mr Foose said it has not been all doom and gloom. He said there have been plenty of positives to take out of the previous 18-month period.

Dorset Echo:

"The Eat Out to Help Out scheme worked well, and Euro 2020 brought an amazing atmosphere to Hardy's," he said.

"Running the bar has allowed me to meet a lot of new people.

"It's a bar that's in a prime spot and has the potential to be great and I want it to thrive, but the pandemic has taken away my passion for the industry."

READ MOREMan sentenced after drunken rage in St Thomas Street, Weymouth

Mr Foose also runs Naughty Forks Desserts in St Thomas Street. He said leaving his position at the bar will give him more time to build the dessert enterprise.

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Dorset Echo: Keith Foose outside Naughty Fork Desserts in St Thomas St, Weymouth Picture: Ellie MaslinKeith Foose outside Naughty Fork Desserts in St Thomas St, Weymouth Picture: Ellie Maslin

Hardy's closure comes after another business in the same street - Funkin Fries - shut its doors, with its former owners blaming its demise due to the staff crisis.

READ MORETwo restaurants and coffee shop close

Other business across Dorset have been forced to close because they have been unable to recruit staff amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has been blamed on strict Government guidance.

READ MOREDorset and Weymouth businesses hit by staff shortage crisis

Craig Oakes, president of Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce, said: "This season has been totally different to the last one in Weymouth and Portland.

"It's been the year of shortages in many ways - shortages of staff, shortages of raw materials and a shortage of foreign holidays. The conditions this season have created a perfect storm.

"Due to an influx of visitors who would normally be taking trips abroad and the fact that many staff were still furloughed, which is just coming to an end.

"It has boosted the local economy though and may mean that we see these new visitors back or that they choose to invest here.

"It’s quite amazing how many have made it through with shortages without exhibiting major signs of stress.

"Long may it continue but the bubble may burst now a lot of countries have just gone 'green'.

"As Keith says I’m sure somebody will take over Hardy’s Hop House. It has a prime location."

Are you a business owner in Weymouth or the surrounding area that's been affected by the staff shortages? Contact me on: sam.mckeown@newsquest.co.uk, or give me a call on: 07590 489317