A Belfast restaurant owner has accused Stormont ministers of letting the local hospitality industry die without a fight.
Brian Donnelly said eateries here simply will not be able to cope with the social distancing restrictions being imposed by the Executive and added that a huge number of them will go out of business.
The chef, who co-owns Bia Rebel on Belfast's Ormeau Road with partner Jenny Holland, said that their premises catered for a maximum of 20 people prior to lockdown but will only be able to accommodate four diners if he reopens under the new post-coronavirus rules.
Mr Donnelly also told the Belfast Telegraph he shudders to think how the larger, more established restaurants will adapt with their punitive overheads and huge staffing bills.
"As things stand, there's going to be mass unemployment in the hospitality sector here," he warned."You're just going to end up with either really high end; you have four covers in a restaurant at £500 a head, or the other end with a thousand customers paying a pound each."
Before the Covid-19 crisis the Co Tyrone man employed six staff.
He has had to furlough four of them since the closure of his business, which had enjoyed a successful two-and-a-half years since it opened.
Mr Donnelly said social distancing requirements will sound the death-knell for many establishments here, and sooner rather than later.
"In Northern Ireland they'll definitely enforce it," he explained.
"Michelle O'Neill has already said social distancing will be something she'll be promoting for the next 12 months.
"That can't work for us and it's time for politicians to make a big decision.
"If they're happy to let the industry go to the wall then they should just come out and say it, so everybody knows where we're going."
He added: "In my opinion they're just afraid of losing votes; I want someone to come out and take a stand on behalf of this business.
It's as if they've cut and pasted that from somewhere in California; none of that exists in Northern IrelandBrian Donnelly
"When you read the so-called new plan from Stormont, you're allowed to go to drive-through cinemas, open-air museums and drive-through church services.
"That sort of thing doesn't exist here. It's as if they've cut and pasted that from somewhere in California; none of that exists in Northern Ireland.
Mr Donnelly admitted that to survive he will "have to pivot and change".
"We're going to have to become a pure takeaway, it'll just be myself and my partner working," he said.
"We're small. We're not like Michael Deane. Or a hotel group like Hastings, who have much bigger businesses, they have huge footprints, massive overheads, huge staffing bills.
"If we can't cope, how will they fare?"
In his online blog about how the current situation is affecting restaurants, Mr Donnelly said that before Covid-19 medium-sized food businesses needed to make a 3%-5% profit in order to survive.
"They would need to serve between 40-80 customers per day in a 20-40 seat space during an optimum seven-hour period - many businesses were finding this tough even before the lockdown," he said.
"With social distancing, this becomes impossible. So customer numbers will be reduced for sit-in.
"A lot of businesses might think 'let's all do takeaway' and jump on the food delivery platforms such as Deliveroo, Uber and Just Eat.
"Well, let's look at how that breaks down. These companies charge 30% for their service plus VAT on the total bill amount which takes the charge to 36%.
"While you can claim back some of the VAT if you are VAT registered, let's look at a food bill of £100 on a delivery platform to see how our restaurateur fares: Food 25%, staff 25%, pension 6%, rent/rates 8%, other 10%, VAT 20%, delivery 36% - which gives us a combined total of 130%.
"Or to put it another way, for every £100 spent with your establishment through an online delivery platform you are subsidising it to the tune of £30.
"How can a business that only generates a 3%-5% profit margin think that by adding on a 30% additional base cost they can save their business?"
Portrush: The shops are shuttered, the amusements have ground to a halt and the only living creatures to be seen are the soaring gulls and an occasional dog walker.