On Monday, a gloomy Boris Johnson delivered another hammer blow to Britain's already crippled hospitality sector.
'Freedom Day' was being delayed by four weeks. Nightclubs wouldn't reopen on Monday as planned, while bars and pubs would need to continue following the rules for now.
The news was expected given the rising infection rate, but no less disheartening for a sector which has arguably suffered worse than any during the pandemic.
And there can't be many cities where that sting will hurt more than Newcastle.
The city is known across the world as a place to party. Pre-pandemic, it was a mecca for stag and hens hellbent on a good time down the Bigg Market or Diamond Strip.
Post-pandemic, however, the picture remains unclear. Even some of the city's leading nightlife figures are split on what a night out in Newcastle will look like once restrictions are lifted.
For some, like Tup Tup Palace co-founder Nigel Holliday, business will likely be booming. Tickets for the venue's relaunch flew out straight away.
And he thinks Newcastle could be "top of the list" of British destinations people want to visit once the rules are fully eased.
"With all the staycations and people not being able to go on holiday, I would expect there will be a lot more people visiting Newcastle," said the businessman.
"You can't really do your lads holiday or girls holiday this year, so you might see Newcastle as a destination where people think 'let's go there this weekend' rather than the traditional summer holiday.
"People will want to be coming up for a party weekend, and I think (trade) could be even stronger than before."
And he also anticipates a possible boom in stag and hen bookings later this summer.
"People will feel safer organising that weekend away (in Newcastle), rather than somewhere where you may have to quarantine when you come back."
The lure of Newcastle is already well know. And just this week, it was named one of the best 'second cities' on Earth.
Even stretching back to the mid-90s, it was named the eighth best party town on the planet in the Weissman Tourism Report - behind only the likes of Rio.
However, the pandemic has shown little mercy to even the most secure sectors.
Just this week, Tom Caulker, managing and musical director of the legendary World Headquarters nightclub, admitted his venue will be “finished” if lockdown restrictions continue into autumn.
The Government insists that won't happen. Boris Johnson himself as promised they will be eased on July 19, with the PM insisting the extra time is solely to allow all adults to be jabbed.
However there's scepticism from backbenchers, while Mish:Mash and Horticulture supremo Mike Hesketh admits the news this week wasn't exactly cause for celebration.
"Obviously we knew (the roadmap) was fraught with potential changes, so everything we did was done tentatively based on the potential of it changing. But we can't hide our disappointment at being delayed," said Mike, who has previously been critical of some of the Government's restrictions on nightspots.
Moving beyond the pandemic, he admits the future is still very much unclear. To say the last year hasn't been great for venues is an understatement, but according to Mike confidence is rising and the talent across the sector is there - while there is evidence visitors are already flocking here from outside the area.
"We've noticed with our Central Park event more and more people are coming into Newcastle to party, and we are blessed with bigger venues and a wider variety of promoters trying innovative ideas where perhaps the smaller towns and visitors don't have," he added.
"And I think people still recognise that we are the nightlife place.
"And if the clubs and the promoters to survive this pandemic, to then go out to market and put some really innovative stuff on to bring people back into the city, then I think people will return."
The key question though is in what form will people return.
A night out has changed a lot since March 2020. While rules may change, maybe habits won't.
Teenagers have spent over a year watching DJs perform on a live stream. We aren't supposed to mingle in a bar. Queuing for a pint just seems a bit daft now.
Nightclubs were already becoming a less common sight in city's prior to the pandemic. A study, published earlier this year, found 80% were at risk due to Covid.
Despite that, many are bracing themselves to well and truly party like it is 1999 in four weeks time.
One of the region's biggest players, Tokyo Industries chief Aaron Mellor, said he would be opening up venues like Digital as soon as he could, anticipating a return to normality just like that.
"The atmosphere will be amazing. The pent up demand for events has never been higher," he told The Sun.
For Nigel, he thinks venues will bounce back. The last year has been brutal, with the Government's financial support doing little to keep venue's from digging into their reserves to keep going.. Ultimately rent was due no matter what - but he feels the good times will return for the city.
"Customer confidence is there," he added.
"We found out that as soon as we opened the door, most of the tables were booked out and it was going to be packed. From a customer perspective, they want to be back out.
"People want to be able to dance, they haven't been able to for a year and a half of their lives, so they are yearning for it."
However, for Mike, he still unsure as to whether the future will be 3,000 sweaty teenagers cramped in a nightclub - or something completely different.
"It is amazing because at the beginning of the pandemic, we as promoters were saying can you imagine the appetite of people coming out - they are going to be absolutely loving getting out the clubs again.
"But as time goes by, and as you keep getting beaten by these setbacks...you do worry that trends and people's desires do change.
"So it is an unknown we have to go into, but all we can do as promoters and as people who love nightclubs, live music and festivals, get out there and really give people events to go to.
"So fingers cross, July 19 goes through, and we can get back to what we know and love which is moshing at a gig and dancing on the dancefloor, and kissing people in a bar again - but it is going to be an interesting one."