There will be casualties among Belfast's hospitality businesses as a result of Covid-19 and lockdown, the new president of the city's Chamber of Commerce has warned.
Pub industry veteran Michael Stewart, who succeeded Rajesh Rana as president in June, says he also fears a lasting change in consumer habits.
While pubs which serve food have been open since July 10, he says that a date for so-called 'wet pubs' to reopen is desperately needed.
Michael is in a good position to speculate on how going-out habits might evolve, after more than 30 years in high-profile roles in the pub game.
The father of one has worked in the industry since 1987, through the days of Bob Cratchits, a Charles Dickens-inspired bar on Lisburn Road, and into the Botanic Inns era in which the pub group led by Jaz Mooney transformed social habits in the city with a glamorous, cocktail-themed approach.
He recalls its south Belfast venue The Fly drawing crowds of up to 400 on a week night - a scale inconceivable in more recent times.
More recently he's been running bar and hotel House on south Belfast's Botanic Avenue, as well as his own bar trade training consultancy, Bar Czar.
He's realistic about the challenges ahead.
"We will come through it, battered and bruised though we will have to adapt and change how we do things, in every walk of life, from the school run to weekly shopping, until a vaccine arrives," he says.
"But even when the vaccine arrives some people will be so set in their Covid ways that they'll never go back again."
The Chamber has launched Building Belfast Back Better, a 15-point plan for rebuilding the city's economy following lockdown. One bugbear is that the official advice from the Executive remains to work from home - leaving office buildings close to unoccupied if not completely empty.
Most of all - from the Chamber's point of view - the lack of office workers in the city deprives retail and hospitality businesses of their usual stream of customers.
The Chamber is lobbying the Economy and Finance ministers for a change in the advice. "We are in the process of getting dates in the diary for conversations with both ministers to discuss this and indeed our 15 -point plan for rebuilding the city's economy, called Building Belfast Back Better.
"What I've learnt throughout my career, and this crisis has highlighted it quite starkly, is the symbiotic relationship between all sectors of our economy.
"Retail and hospitality need staff in financial services and the tech sector to buy their lunch or a pint after work on a Friday.
"Equally, companies invest in Belfast because talent is attracted to the mix of shops, bars and restaurants that the city has to offer.
"Companies will take decisions on when to return to their offices based on what is right for them and their staff but we need to see the Executive's guidance change to send a signal that it is safe to get back into the city again and we also need the public sector to lead by example."
Michael welcomed the cut in VAT to 5% for hospitality and tourism businesses. "It will give lots of businesses in the industry a fighting chance to survive. Tourism has been a growing sector for years. It has been hit hard by Covid-19. It can bounce back but we need more support like that offered by the Chancellor and other steps like the long hoped for reform of liquor licensing laws."
Michael is also cheered by the Chancellor's Eat Out To Help Out scheme, which will offer discounts for eating out between Monday and Wednesday in August.
And Michael is also hopeful that businesses will embrace the move by Belfast City Council to grant licenses for pavement cafes.
Michael, who lives in Dundonald with wife Lisa and their 17-year-old son, has seen many stages in the evolution of Belfast's economy. He grew up in the Shankill and studied geography and history at the-then Ulster Polytechnic. Michael looks back fondly on his years working in Marks & Spencer's store on Donegall Place though it was a turbulent time as the Troubles raged in the city.
"I was there when they were bombing the heart of the city. We used to do security at the doors into Marks & Spencer's.
"I remember the store manager Sandy Brown. He was Belfast Chamber president in 1983 and 1984. I bumped into him in the loos one time and he had his dickie bow on, on his way to a Chamber event.
"I asked him, 'what's the chain around your neck?' He told me it was the chain of the Belfast Chamber and that he was very proud to wear it. And in a way, I feel like I started my presidency of the Chamber with that encounter 37 years ago in the loos of M&S."
He left Belfast for London after university and worked in trade magazines in London. But in 1987 he was lured back to Belfast with an offer of a job at Bob Cratchits, which was being launched by Croft Inns - owned by Guinness at the time. It wasn't long before a recession hit.
"In the 33-year span I've worked in the industry, I've gone through the financial crises of 1987/88, when interest rates hit 15%," he recalls. "We've had the crisis of 2007/08, and now we have a recession looming - but this is deeper and harder.
"We will come out of it more battered and bruised, but better.
"It's inevitable there will be closures among the pub trade. Even somewhere like New York is going to have closures and redundancies. Jobs will be disappearing and nobody will be immune.
Inevitably, a lot of businesses cannot sustain the losses and it doesn't help the bars which still don't have an opening date with four months of lockdown."