Given the fatigue I have seen on the faces of some of our most energetic entrepreneurs in recent weeks, I sincerely hope Professor Neil Ferguson is correct this time in suggesting we will largely be looking back on the pandemic by October.

The US statistician Nate Silver took a shot at Professor Ferguson not for his forecasts per se but for being “over-confident” in each one that he makes. It is hard to disagree but I know there are entrepreneurs earnestly hoping that this time his over-confidence is justified.

Even our First Minister appears to agree that the crisis mood has changed. We can move beyond Level 0 but with some caveats on the return to the office that will leave several of those entrepreneurs at an impasse.

For some businesses the First Minister’s announcements will be another welcome step on the road to recovery. The Fraser of Allander’s Scottish Business Monitor showed all sectors reporting a net increase in their trade during the second quarter of 2021. The hard-hit accommodation and food services industry showed the biggest improvement. Others like manufacturing, construction, finance and insurance have been improving since the beginning of the year.

For others that recovery still looks a long way off. The monitor also emphasised how long the road will be ,with 42% of surveyed businesses confirming they had taken on more debt to survive with almost all saying the debt is either moderate or substantial.

The most recent statistics on the job retention scheme make very clear where the pain remains acute. The sectors with more than half of jobs remaining on furlough at the end of June are air passenger transport, hotels, travel agency and tour operators. No wonder the Chancellor was reported to have written to the Prime Minister urging greater relaxation of restrictions on international travel. How are travel businesses in Scotland expected to survive having already missed a second summer, especially now the JRS is in its final stages? The Chancellor clearly recognises the problem so if he loses the argument he surely should rethink the ending of support for those businesses.

Equally the challenges for businesses serving Glasgow’s city centre are far from over. Our city centre members have been very clear that the return to the office, reopening of university and college campuses and the lifting of constraints on public transport will all be necessary if trade is to recover.

The City Council’s own city centre footfall study for June stood at just 53% of the same measure in June 2019. That largely agrees with the mobile phone data from the Centre for Cities which highlighted how low footfall was outside the weekend as office staff continued to work from home.

The Fraser of Allander’s Monitor also had some data on firms’ intentions on returning to the office. Only two-thirds of staff who worked full-time in the workplace pre-pandemic are expected to return to that with a fifth adopting hybrid working practices.

The First Minister is clearly a fan of home working but with public health risks diminishing she should now leave it to employers to make the decisions.

The majority of firms reported that home working was reducing productivity and that will no doubt be an influence on how widely they will encourage it remaining a permanent feature.

The FM is not well placed to judge what the most appropriate working practices are for any individual business. If she does not allow them the choice she risks simply increasing the number of city centre businesses that will be laying off employees once the JRS comes to an end.

Stuart Patrick is chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce