Fears have been raised that new restrictions on opening times could sound the death knell for some West Cumbrian pubs, just days after a boom in business was reported on the county's coast.

New measures announced to slow the spread of COVID-19 mean that pubs and bars now have to close by 10pm.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the move aimed to reduce the risk of people not socially distancing because they'd been drinking.

But George Kemp, who runs Maryport's Lifeboat Inn and owns the Middle Tap, fears the change could force some landlords to call time on their business.

He said: "On Friday and Saturday nights when we can be very busy and make most of our money it will have a financial impact on us.

"We just have to grin and bear it but I think it could sound the death knell for a lot of pubs that are struggling and do drink sales only."

"Considering a few weeks ago they launched Eat Out to Help Out to encourage hundreds and hundreds of people out and now they've gone the opposite way, it seems to me they don't know what they're doing."

The changes come just after hotelier Philip Cueto reported a 300 per cent surge in business since lockdown eased.

Mr Cueto, who owns the Golden Lion in Maryport and Silloth’s Golf Hotel, said Maryport was busier than he’d ever seen it as restrictions on foreign travel continue to prompt many holidaymakers to opt for UK breaks.

Mr Cueto said he had recruited four new full-time staff members in Maryport as a result of the business boom, and he’s not the only trader reporting an increase in visitors.

Mr Cueto, who also owns Maryport cocktail bar Antonio’s, said: “I’ve never seen as many tourists in Maryport for about 20 years.

“I think it’s purely because people can’t go abroad. I think the Lake District is that full that people have been pushed out to the west coast. Usually it’s a hard job getting people this far west.

“It’s excellent for west Cumbria.”

Since reopening in July, Mr Cueto said, business has been 300 per cent up compared to the same period in a normal year.

But, while the boost to business is welcome, it cannot make up for the loss of revenue suffered while businesses were forced to close, Mr Cueto said.