THE Scottish trade is no stranger to challenges.
There have been seemingly insurmountable obstacles in its path down the years, and the resilience, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit which define the Scottish trade have shone through.
But the coronavirus pandemic is a different animal entirely – every pub, restaurant, hotel and nightclub ordered to close on March 20.
Since then trade groups have – and continue to be – a formidable force in lobbying both the UK and Scottish governments for support for the industry.
And those grants, funds, VAT cuts and business rates holidays have gone some way to helping some, but not all.
We have heard harrowing stories over the past four months – businesses that may sadly never recover, operators facing agonising decisions, a huge amount of uncertainty for everyone.
And that cloud of uncertainty continues to loom large for parts of the trade like nightclubs, which still have no reopening date in sight; and for those who feel they have no choice but to batten down the hatches until next year.
Things are no more certain for those that have managed to open, battered and bruised after almost four months of closure.
Operating a pub, restaurant or hotel now is a very different ball game; and reopening is just the first step in what could be a long road to recovery.