Winston Churchill aptly named his six-volume account of the First World War "The World Crisis" and, several months into the Covid-19 pandemic, it is still unbelievable that we are dealing with our own "world crisis", which is affecting lives and livelihoods in every part of the planet.
It has been said many times before, but the world will never be the same again, particularly the economy.
Given the rapidly changing nature of the Covid-19 crisis, it has been a challenge for all levels of Government to provide effective policy responses that will support our economy throughout these awful times.
While Retail NI welcomes the Northern Ireland Executive's initiatives, such as the small businesses grants, 12 months' rate relief and the five-stage plan, we believe it is now time to make greater progress in rebooting and reopening our economy.
The reality is that, until a vaccine is produced, we will have to find creative ways to safely work around this virus and ensure that we have an economy which provides jobs and investment for Northern Ireland.
Recent unemployment figures show an economy which is in real danger of freefall, unless action is taken, and the blunt reality is that high levels of poverty will only exacerbate the mental and physical health problems within our communities.
It will be a long road for many of our independent retailers, but I have doubt that, given their resilience and innovation, they will be at the cutting edge of a reinvented retail sector and 21st century high streets
In our discussions with Executive ministers, Retail NI has outlined the need for an intensive, one-year recovery plan and stimulus package to address the immediate challenges facing our local economy. We also need to give some thought to what a longer-term economic plan would look like.
Before this crisis, Retail NI, as part of Trade NI, published its Vision 2030 plan, setting out how to create 65,000 new jobs and transform Northern Ireland's economy into an ecosystem of innovation. Our plan is even more relevant now than before.
Since the beginning of this crisis, footfall and trade in town and city centres has all but collapsed, causing huge damage to our economy.
It was welcome news on Monday that all retail (with direct street access) can reopen from Friday.
It will be a long road for many of our independent retailers, but I have doubt that, given their resilience and innovation, they will be at the cutting edge of a reinvented retail sector and 21st century high streets.
Retail NI believes we also need a complementary strategy for the reopening of our town and city centres and have written to the Communities Minister urging her to establish a high street and town centre advisory group to ensure the Executive and local councils can move forward together with a reopening roadmap, which is fully in line with medical advice.
This reopening plan for our town and city centres should outline the right health and safety guidance for retailers, key businesses in town centres, their employees and also consumers.
This will, no doubt, involve the repurposing and reimaging of public spaces to accommodate queuing customers and significant changes to public transport.
It is absolutely vital that we create confidence in shoppers that our shops and high streets will be safe for them and their families to return to
The Dublin City Centre BID and the UK High Streets Taskforce have both published some key recommendations on what this would look like in terms of social distancing, deep cleaning, signposting and stewarding.
We also need a Northern Ireland reopening high streets safety fund to assist local councils and traders to implement plans to reopen town and city centres.
It is absolutely vital that we create confidence in shoppers that our shops and high streets will be safe for them and their families to return to.
Moving from two metres to one-metre social distancing is crucial for retail and hospitality as they reopen and we urge the Executive to look at how this can be done in a safe way, drawing upon good practice in other countries.
Further help for independent retailers is also needed to support them in planning for the future, such as the small business grants being extended for multi-site independent retailers, as is the case in the rest of the UK.
The 21st-century high street is all about creating a fun and family-friendly experience for consumers and, given that retail and hospitality have a symbiotic relationship, both sectors are absolutely central components for any successful high street or town centre.
That's why we fully support the call from our colleagues in Hospitality Ulster for an early reopening date for our pubs and restaurants to work towards - particularly now that their counterparts in the Irish Republic have a date.
Looking forward, the post-coronavirus economy will be a very different place, but a reimagined retail sector will play a key role in the economic recovery of Northern Ireland and will provide employment and investment in the challenging times ahead
The demand for childcare provision will also grow as more employees return to work as the retail sector and wider economy begin to reopen.
We welcome the Executive's extension of the definition of key workers to access childcare and the additional £12m to support this sector.
Looking ahead, affordable childcare will be an indispensable part of our social infrastructure, supporting more people in finding employment and contributing to the economy.
Looking forward, the post-coronavirus economy will be a very different place, but a reimagined retail sector will play a key role in the economic recovery of Northern Ireland and will provide employment and investment in the challenging times ahead.
With a population used to remote working, Zoom meetings and buying even more online, what will it all mean to our economy and society as a whole? One thing is clear - it will never again be business as usual.
The post Covid-19 economy needs to have a wellbeing agenda at its very core and be green, sustainable and have well-funded public services.
This new economy must create an environment where business can thrive and grow, which means investing in our infrastructure, developing skills and increasing our productivity. This should be the "new normal".
Glyn Roberts is chief executive of Retail NI