Hospitality leaders are calling on the Executive to pay up, and quickly, after it slapped an extension onto the closure of bars, restaurants and hotels for at least another week.
Leaders in the trade reacted angrily to the announcement that the sector will reopen on a graduated basis, with unlicensed premises such as cafes opening next Friday, November 20, and the remainder on November 27.
The move was described as a "huge disappointment".
And one restaurant owner has even proposed billing the Executive for more than £6,000 to cover perishable stock and staff payments.
In a social media post, Town Square in Botanic Avenue said: "Your incompetence and inability to make decisions has cost us a lot of money.
"We spent hundreds of pounds on staff costs getting things ready for the agreed opening date. We prepared fresh food and bought in more supplies to make our premises even safer for social distancing.
"You then moved the goalposts hours before we were due to open, without a care for the crippling effect on the already battered industry..."
It is a frustration shared by most members in the trade with Northern Ireland Hotels Federation chief executive Janice Gault saying hoteliers here will have lost around £70m from the six-week closure.
She said: "All metrics are under stress. Turnover is forecast to fall to less than a third of 2019. Outlays including furlough, salaries and fixed costs will see hoteliers pay out over £10m for the six-week closure."
She described current support for the trade under the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme, which pays out at least £800 and up to £1,600 a week for businesses forced to close, as "paltry". On Thursday the Executive said it would offer "additional financial support for affected businesses", however the Department for the Economy suggested that the existing schemes would be all that was on offer for the trade for now.
"Businesses in the hospitality and food services sectors are eligible for the existing range of support that is being provided and they are encouraged to apply to the scheme relevant to their circumstances," it said.
Belfast Chamber chief executive Simon Hamilton said any financial aid offered must reach the trade as soon as possible, describing payments so far as "slow and patchy". "Ministers must now fast-track support that for lots still hasn't arrived, increase funding to affected businesses, and also give a cast iron guarantee that the new reopening dates will happen," he said.
"Stock is an issue and the Executive needs to bear in mind when looking at uplifting these schemes that the decision was made late. These businesses are really struggling and they will hope to open again in two weeks. They'll make plans again, buying in stock and taking bookings so the best support they could get right now is a guarantee that the Executive will stick to that date."
Ruth Sloan, chair of the Campaign for Real Ale in NI, said: "Without a long-term financial support package I fear that this could be the end for our breweries and pubs as we know them."
Finance Minister Conor Murphy said every effort was being made to process applications for existing schemes and so far £12.9m has been issued to 3,418 businesses. Referencing a new cash pot of £400m from the Chancellor, he has "encouraged Executive colleagues to urgently bring forward proposals to use this money".