It was the news the hospitality sector had been dreading.
hose whose livelihoods hung in the balance were watching and waiting as a farcical night of delays played out.
Late on Tuesday, the news began to emerge via social media - the hospitality sector would be shut down for four weeks, and with just 48 hours' notice.
These are big decisions and there is no arguing that it is an unenviable position our political leaders are in every day as the situation evolves and the crisis deepens.
But given the urgency that is often cited and the need for clear and concise guidance from our leaders to avoid any ambiguity or confusion, how did the meeting which was supposed to start in the afternoon not even begin until 9.30pm and then extend past midnight and into Wednesday morning?
The Northern Ireland public is well accustomed to the usual crisis handling at Stormont which rarely sees consensus until the every deadline has been stretched.
And perhaps, given the matter, they could be forgiven for going into extra time - given the issues are literally life and death.
But all the time, waiting for clarity, were the human faces behind all of this - the restaurant owners, the bar owners, the hotel owners and all of their staff and workers - with the heavy weight on their shoulders of another impending tumultuous closure. Many had thrown themselves into completely transforming the way they work - investing in measures to keep people safe and perhaps feeling like things were getting even a little back on track.
And of course, they were bolstered and encouraged by the Government's Eat Out To Help Out Scheme, which actively encouraged the public to go out and eat at reduced prices.
Now all of that has been taken away and the hospitality sector has had the rug pulled from beneath it again.
Restrictions will come into place at 6pm on Friday - with the industry given just 48 hours to alert staff and prepare to close unless they have a takeaway option.
By the time Arlene Foster rose to confirm the restrictions in a special sitting of the Assembly on Wednesday morning, a document laying out the new restrictions was already being widely shared.
Mrs Foster told MLAs after 10.30am that any decisions were not being taken lightly.
In a press conference in the afternoon, Health Minister Robin Swann reiterated the message, saying: "We are doing this with a very heavy heart", citing this as a "window of opportunity".
But Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill said that he could not "overstate the seriousness of this situation" and that tens of thousands of jobs as well as hundreds of thousands of businesses are now in "free fall".
Mrs Foster has insisted the restrictions would not last any longer than four weeks.
But for some it is already too late and the death knell has already tolled.