Well, it has been an unprecedented year – an expression none of us knew would be so heavily used as we started 2020.

It has also been a year of new words with Covid-19, furlough, pivot, lockdown, Nightingale hospitals, social distancing and bubbles – the latter with a whole new meaning – all being peppered throughout everyday language.

We’ve also experienced a new virtual work life with so many of us working from home.

‘You’re on mute’ has become a regular line as we huddle around one of the many new digital technologies which have been embraced with such vigour and pace – after previously being met with great resistance by many. A global pandemic certainly forced that dial.

I have been reflecting on what has happened this year and I remember vividly when it became apparent to me that we were in serious trouble. It was on March 4 in the SEC at the Scottish Tourism Alliance Spring Conference where the new tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030– a genuine collaborative effort led by Marc Crothall and the first-class STA team – was launched by the First Minister.

Before making her formal address, she gave a few opening remarks about Covid-19 which had by then landed in Scotland.

Only a handful of cases at that time, but her tone was sombre and she said it would probably get a lot worse before it got better and that she hoped we would come out of the other side okay.

The situation promptly began to crescendo into a white-knuckle ride for our business community as we went into lockdown later that month. Throughout, the team at Glasgow Chamber has worked tirelessly, led by our CEO Stuart Patrick, and been on the frontline flying the flag to support members and champion Glasgow, fighting for their best interests along the journey.

At the outset, so much was about listening to businesses and understanding the issues being faced across the board alongside gathering data to mitigate the impacts on the city’s business community so we could respond accordingly.

That led to the swift set up of the Glasgow Business Resilience Council, which comprises some 60 senior members from across a variety of sectors, and our resilience support mechanisms through our excellent policy support from the dram agency. This has been our anchor over the last 10 months, enabling us to react weekly to the changing UK and Scottish Government policies and announcements.

Initial lobbying via British Chambers of Commerce sought support for businesses which were likely to find themselves struggling with cash flow. Shortly afterwards the Chancellor announced the job retention scheme and ongoing work ensured it is now extended until the end of April. Calls for action to both UK and Scottish Governments were plentiful across various subsidies for business, mass testing, and support for young people who will undoubtedly be amongst the very worst hit from this crisis.

The health of our city centre’s businesses has become more critical than ever as we find Glasgow now with the worst footfall figures across UK cities. The call for a City Centre Taskforce will focus on this, providing city leadership and senior level advocacy to address and secure resources for key issues.

It has been a long haul and the personal wellbeing of all of us has never been so important.

As we head into a festive season like no other, I’d like you all to ensure you stop even for a short time and breathe.

There is no doubt we will all need our batteries fully recharged to help us deal with whatever 2021 holds.

Alison McRae is senior director with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce