There are moments in a crisis which somehow catch your attention more than the regular livestream news feeds so many of us will be following.

The Prime Minister’s comments grimly acknowledging that "many more families are going to lose loved ones" through the coronavirus was one such moment.

So too was observing a contractor work her way through my subway carriage cleaning the handrails with disinfectant. It finally dawned on me how different this crisis really is.

Before the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his budget last week Glasgow Chamber of Commerce asked for support to smaller businesses faced with the impact of the coronavirus. Our judgement was that it was going to have calamitous impact on the cash flow for businesses especially in tourism, hospitality and retail whose customers will simply disappear for weeks.

We wanted an extension of the HMRC Time to Pay scheme for VAT and payroll taxes. We wanted relief for business rates. We wanted emergency loan funds to be made available. The Chancellor delivered on all of that and threw in the re-imbursement of Statutory Sick Pay and small cash grants for some businesses. Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes then announced a £320m rescue package to support businesses through the outbreak.

But as each new step towards social distancing emerges, the scale of the economic impact dwarfs these measures.

Our banks have been responding with Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyd’s Banking Group announcing funds they will be making available to businesses needing help. We have also seen some generous sharing of the approaches businesses are adopting to deal with the practical impact on daily working.

Andrew Dobbie, Made Brave’s founder and leader, has been especially active on social media explaining how he is working with his team both to look after his clients and to make sure colleagues watch out for each other.

I know that has had an impact on our own thinking about the Chamber’s working practices. Like every other small business we are having to make radical adjustments in the face of an event that I would suspect featured on no company’s risk register.

It has also been important that the messages coming from both the UK and Scottish Governments have, for the most part, been the same. Nothing would add more to the anxious atmosphere than conflicting, contradictory statements from our political leadership.

We are listening closely to the guidance our political leaders are offering and we want to avoid any confusion about what the science tells us to do.

But as we absorb each new step in our war on this virus, we must acknowledge very reluctantly that if the disruption to normal life continues for several months then many small, independent businesses will find it near impossible to survive.

For some the complete collapse of demand for an extended period will be hard to solve even with all the banks and the governments are doing. Some perfectly good businesses will fail through no fault of their own and many people will lose their livelihoods.

I am optimistic that banks, governments and their agencies will be trying as hard as they can to keep the number as small as they can and for as long as the businesses can propose solutions to keep themselves afloat we should listen to what they say and be prepared to respond. We will be asking for even more extensive government action in the weeks ahead.

Our mission as a Chamber is to support our members and to champion our local economy. We have our work cut out for us in the weeks ahead.

Stuart Patrick is chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce