Yet somehow, we still find ourselves on the hop and furious as the Government once again shifts the goalposts and maintains restrictions, which disproportionately impact on our industry above most others.
Every time they’ve set out rules for reopening, and despite hitting those targets – probably plucked from the air at a cabinet meeting – they’ve reneged on the deal and turned around and kept us under the heel, struggling that little bit longer.
Four weeks this time, “just four weeks” I’m sure was the mantra from ministers, but that’s four more weeks to businesses that were already running on fumes, all of the fat is gone, and four more weeks will seem to many like a distant and ever moving dream that is unlikely to ever come true.
And will it be four weeks? Every other deadline and target set by this clownish government has been altered and changed, usually at the last minute, and another excuse found to prolong the restrictions and challenges our sector is facing.
What will happen in four weeks? They’re already muttering about not being able to guarantee it won’t be longer, which sounds like a hedging of the bets to me and the scientists are already shaking their heads.
What about support?
And what about the support? There appears to be nothing on the table, and the sentiment from within Government appears to be that we’ve had our fill over the last year or so, so we need to stand on our own two feet, despite the fact the same Government keeps cutting us down at the knees.
On top of this, the business rates holiday ends at the end of June, so we’ll see more pressure piling on businesses that are only being allowed to trade with one hand behind it’s back.
We need to see some sensible support and decisions being made by a Government that continues to twist the knife in our sector, yet reports from trade associations suggest that Government engagement is dropping off, and likely our appeals for support – business rates cancellation, VAT cut extensions etc – is simply falling on deaf ears.
If there is no support, we’re likely to see some real casualties within the trade, and that is going to be heartbreaking to see when we keep being told that we’re nearing the end of this crisis.
Support is needed now as much as it was at the start, and for the Government to turn its back on the sector will be the final betrayal.