The anguish, worry and fear was rife as operators reported few to no customers in their establishments on the last weekend before Christmas.
A time that would normally see venues packed, thriving and happy has been, once more, cruelly snatched away by ill-thought out government policy and a total lack of regard for the consequences.
People point to March 2020 for comparison, when the Prime Minister “advised” people not to go to the pub, but the reality is that this is far worse - this is the time of year when pubs are at their busiest, where they make the money to sustain them through the quieter months ahead.
Factor in the shocking loss of trade for the best part of 18 months, and this period couldn’t have ever been more crucial.
But wait, what’s this? Is that a jet plane coming into land from California with our previous saviour riding on it?
But no, sadly not. Rishi barely had the time to brush the sand off his feet and remove the last of the sun screen before popping onto the telly to basically tell us all to stop moaning.
Apparently there are already enough support measures in place - VAT reductions and business rates discounts…
Great support if you’ve got any trade, not much good if the only customer in your premises is also looking nervous and edging towards the door.
In the words of one operator on social, this Government has truly “shafted” the sector at the worst possible time, and seems incapable of owning up it’s responsibilities with support.
The only hope the sector can possibly have is a boom in trade once Christmas day has boomed and granny is safe, and you can pretty much predict that is when the lockdown will happen as a final kick in the teeth.
The revelation that the SAGE modelling is narrow and based on worst case outcomes to provoke a lockdown is, sadly, not even that much of a revelation.
There’s a blinkered approach to this crisis which refuses to look for alternative actions, measures and outcomes, and it is prepared to sacrifice an entire industry to achieve its aims.
The Government needs to step up and sort out support - their proxy-lockdown is causing untold damage and they need to take responsibility for that.