A leading Donegal hotelier has said he fears the season is over and it could be St Patrick's Day before tourist towns like Bundoran see business getting back to normal.

Brian McEniff said he will be closing the Allingham Arms and Great Northern Hotels in Bundoran but will try to keep the Holyrood open although he does not see it surviving.

The businessman said it was a sad time for the hotels and their staff, who will be unemployed.

He said they had hoped to stretch the season out to the end of October but they have not a chance of doing so now - even if they do get to reopen in three weeks, business will never pick up the lost trade.

Bundoran, like several destinations in Donegal, saw an influx from many counties as well as Northern Ireland this summer.

The town had hoped to benefit from the Government’s autumn staycation rebate scheme.

However, that is not possible in Donegal for the next three weeks at least, as the county is under Level 3 restrictions and people are advised not to travel there.

Gardaí were visible on patrol in the county this morning including Donegal Town and Bundoran where a checkpoint was in place just outside the town at Tullaghan in Co Leitrim.

The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Rena Donaghey, has issued a joint statement with the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, calling for compliance with new restrictions.

They appealed to the people of the northwest to be responsible at this critical juncture and use their "common sense on issues like travel, shopping and socialising, work from home if you can".

The statement continued: "Ask yourself how important a journey or other planned activity is and how much additional risk would it bring to you or others and most importantly reduce your contact with people.

"We must note the alarming increase in positive tests and keep this in mind in everything we do."

Meanwhile, another hotel in the county who was offering rooms for €2 per person sharing for an allotted time period this weekend has apologised for "any offence caused". 

The Beach Hotel in Downing's posted the "one time only offer" on its Facebook page.

It stated: "Adhering to government guidelines" we are open for residents only and 16 non- residents outside. 

"Why stay out in the cold? Spoil yourself indoors, rent one of our rooms and avail of our food and beverage services".

The post generated much negative reaction online and this afternoon the hotel management issued a statement apologising and said the offer was only aimed at people locally in Downings. 

They said: "It was not intended that anyone would be using the bedrooms, it was merely a method to allow customers to become residents for a maximum of one hour forty five minutes in line with government regulations so they could avail of our dining and beverage services indoors".

The statement said the hotel will close from Monday until further notice and will donate the remainder of its stock to local charities.