IT was one of the last sunny afternoons before corona-virus. Work was finished for the day after a successful meeting that set out exciting plans for the months ahead.

I strolled down the middle of Buchanan Street, pausing to listen to a busker play an old Frank Sinatra number on the keyboard: That’s Life.

I considered going immediately to my favourite restaurant for lunch. The rumblings of crisis were escalating, WhatsApp messages were pinging and I had this sudden realisation that opportunities like this might not be around for long. At the time, we were all being told to wash the virus away while singing Happy Birthday and still go to the office. Not wanting to be alarmist, I just went home instead, a long lunch could wait till next week.

The restaurants are now closed, some boarded up; the buskers and crowds have gone, and I have no plans for the months ahead beyond adhering to the latest updated protocols from the government.

Today, that means staying at home, exercising outside once, not meeting in groups of more than two, maintaining a distance of two metres, doing a weekly shop and arranging food delivery where possible. If last week, adaptation was the theme, this week brings acceptance. This is happening. There is a wave of new cases coming and our health services will be put under enourmous pressure. The announcement of new measures to curb the spread of the virus came after a weekend where if became clear that some people were not taking physical distancing seriously.

There was a groundswell of public anger at continued gatherings and businesses themselves started taking difficult decisions. There has been a lot of anguish caused by mix messages from central government, but it is now clear that folk should not be working from a place of business unless it is on the list of essential retail places.

Some restaurants have signalled they will continue to offer delivery and takeaway to get food to people during lockdown, which will be a crucial service for the community. However, many smaller operators who had that ambition took the tough decision to close over the last few days to protect their staff and customers.

Before food businesses were shuttered, with no certainty of what lies ahead, we saw acts of kindness. Coia’s sent portions of fish and chips up to the Royal Infirmary. Piece in Finnieston began sending sandwiches to NHS workers for lunch. The Admiral Bar made pizza for the homeless. India Quay gave takeaway dinners to emergency services.

Singl-End delivered food to PEEK-A-CHEW, a new initiative that aims to feed 350 children every day in Glasgow’s east end and that is being supported by the kitchen at 226 Gallowgate.

The Gannet will be concentrating on supporting food banks and is raising funds. Venues are rallying support for their staff. There’s been a groundswell of positive initiatives. I’ve heard of owners handing out care packages to elderly customers with hand-written notes telling them to expect daily phone calls to make sure they are okay. In the absence of clarity from government, Glasgow works to create its own safety net.

To all the good guys across Glasgow food and drink: As soon as this is over, I’ll see you for lunch.

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