A POPULAR village hotel and pub has shut its doors in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic because it is the 'morally responsible' course of action.

Bosses at the Inverkip Hotel say they have taken the 'hard decision' to protect the health and wellbeing of their staff, families and the wider community.

It comes as other hotels in the dictrict say they will stay open for now.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Inverkip Hotel said: "This has not been an easy decision but it is undoubtedly the right one.

"We stand confidently with our team knowing that for us it is morally the responsible thing to do as we are a busy social hub within Inverkip village.

"As our NHS and primary caregivers prepare to deal with this unknown and incomprehensible challenge we feel we must do all that we can to protect the vulnerable by mitigating the opportunity to spread the virus."

Meanwhile, hotels elsewhere in Inverclyde are remaining open for business as usual, at least over the weekend.

Joe Nelis, of the Tontine in Greenock, said: "We are leaving [a decision] until Monday for any further government announcement.

"We remain open and we will review on Monday."

A spokeswoman at the Holiday Inn Express told the Tele: "We are staying open for business and are not closing now, or any time soon.

"We're still here."

When the Telegraph contacted the Premier Inn we were told that there is 'no change' to operations there.

The operators of the Inverkip Hotel say that they don't know for how long the cherished local establishment will remain closed.

In their statement, they said: "We pledge to continue to be the heart of the community and bring togetherness, kindness and a caring spirit for our village.

"We will be here – but just not as you currently know us.

"We hope that when the time comes to open our doors once again you will support us in every way that you can."

The statement thanked everyone who got in touch for their backing, saying 'from the bottom of our currently heavy hearts, it means so much, never more have we felt more supported'.

They also thanked their 'wonderful team'.

The decision was met with an outpouring of understanding and sympathy on social media.

One Facebook post read: "Heartbreaking decision. We really do feel for you all. I'm certain, when your doors open once more, the community will be there. Until then, take care."

Another user wrote: "When this is all over I think we’ll be ensuring we support small businesses when making choices about going out again...you will be our first port of call."