“Whatever it takes” is a phrase that will haunt Rishi Sunak if he doesn’t do exactly that.

On Tuesday, a lifetime ago, he promised guaranteed loans for businesses to pay rent, suppliers, salaries or stock – which is something. But he made no specific provision for employees. He needs to do that today.

An estimated one million jobs have already been lost in the hospitality industry and at the current rate a million more will be gone by the end of the week. That’s two thirds of the industry losing their jobs inside a few days.

That’s also two million people, from the hospitality industry alone, suddenly reliant on the welfare system. If the government is going to end up providing for them anyway, which it will, Sunak should take preventative measures now for at least two reasons.

First, to avoid heaping further pressure on a benefits system that was struggling long before anyone had even heard of coronavirus. But also to ensure that hospitality businesses can close temporarily with the security of knowing they can reopen with a trusted team of people.

At some point life will go back to normal, and hospitality will play a vital role in the resurrection of the economy. Sunak has to recognise that and preserve the chances of it happening by stepping in today with a fiscal package of support specifically dedicated to employees. Without it, millions more jobs will be lost.

But it’s not just about the economy, it’s about the mood of the nation. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of stress and anxiety out there. If the government doesn’t take decisive action to preserve jobs today the hospitality industry will be decimated, even worse than where it is now, reluctantly closing its doors and being forced to lay people off.

If the chancellor does what he needs to do today and announces an employee rescue plan, the industry can look forward to reopening and doing what it does best – making people happy. And by the time this is all over we are all going to need a bit of cheering up.

I know things are changing all the time, but the hospitality industry needs urgent help for its employees and it needs it today. Rishi, you said you’d do whatever it takes. Please do it.