Everyone makes mistakes. No-one is immune from doing so. But everyone knows if you make a mistake the best thing to do is to admit it, try and reverse the situation if possible, and learn from it. The worst thing to do is to carry on regardless and ignore any ongoing damage being done.

Clearly the 10pm curfew is a mistake. God help the government as it struggles to deal with a global pandemic that has destroyed the way the country goes about normal life, and many mistakes have inevitably been made along the way. Some of them, like the lethally botched approach to care homes, cannot be reversed. But some of them can.

The curfew, rushed out without any apparent understanding of the negative impact it would have on hospitality, or the fact that simultaneously ejecting everyone at 10pm would create crowded streets and packed public transport, is a decision that can, and should be, reversed. I imagine this latest round of rushed policy-making on the hoof meant those taking the decision thought shaving an hour or so off traditional 11pm-ish closing times would not have too much of an impact. But it has.

This week MCA polled 368 board level members on the curfew, and though I obviously wasn’t expecting good news, the results were worse than I thought.

Over a third (35%) of operators spread across pubs, restaurants and food to go don’t believe their business will survive six months of a 10pm curfew. Some of the comments laid bare the situation, both in terms of sales and safety, with one pub reporting that “33% of their takings came after 10pm” and another saying that “publicans have been turned into security guards”.

It’s hard to believe anyone could look at the first week of how the curfew has played out, both in terms of sales and safety, and not scrap it, or at least amend it to introduce staggered exit times.

But really it should just be scrapped. There is no scientific support for it. It’s delivering death blows to an already crippled sector and people are simply swapping pubs for parties. Rather than socialising in safe environments, and no-one would deny that the vast majority of hospitality operators have created incredibly safe and sanitised spaces for drinkers and diners, people are doing precisely what the government don’t want them to be doing and gathering elsewhere. It’s killing businesses and potentially killing people.

After a week of pressure by the hospitality industry on the government to have a rethink, the PM appeared at a press conference with his favourite scientists, but there was no reprieve for the curfew. Not yet, anyway.

Typically, policy decisions relating to the coronavirus are reviewed by the government every two weeks. So by the time you read this it may be that a review is underway and that will be followed by (another) government U-turn.

But that’s an optimistic outlook. At present it will be in place for at least six months, meaning Christmas and New Year will effectively be cancelled, plus other party nights like Bonfire Night or Halloween. Worse still, if the measures don’t work, another national lockdown could be in place, with talk of a two-week ‘circuit breaker’ short sharp shock. But either way, the developments of the last two weeks have sent the industry back into a downward spiral. The anger felt among operators about the curfew is palpable and understandable. The government has made a mistake. It won’t be the last one it makes during this pandemic, but at least it can reverse this one quickly and simply. Let’s hope it does. And if it can’t bring itself to do so, or it can produce scientific data or evidence that proves the curfew or another lockdown is necessary, it has to offer comprehensive financial support to those who will suffer as a result. Otherwise what started as a mistake will turn into abject misery.