Christmas is just around the corner, and we are still in the vice-like grip of the coronavirus. It is round about now plans would be getting made for family gatherings; not this year though.

It is very unlikely there will be lights and trees up in the area’s squares, though given that this administration cut them back last year, I doubt that their absence will be noticed.

Of course, making plans for Christmas and New Year is not confined to families. Our pubs and restaurants should be well ahead with their festive plans by now, but due to the ongoing restrictions no plans can be set in stone.

Christmas and New Year are the hospitality industry’s major earners for the year. The money those businesses make in December is vital to get them through the traditionally barren months of January and February, but right now the outlook is extremely bleak for a return to any kind of normal before Christmas.

Normally if the hospitality industry has a bad festive season, most will struggle but survive those bleak early months. But when you add in the dismal pre-Christmas forecast to the four-month enforced closure earlier in the year, it’s pretty clear you have a recipe for disaster.

And it is not just the pubs that will suffer. Chip shops and bookmakers are just two types of business that get a wealth of trade from pub patrons. They, too, could struggle to survive – and in an already deprived area, an economic hit like that could be fatal.

The Scottish Government have choices to make, either lift the restrictions, or put up a financial package to protect our hospitality industry. Doing nothing is most certainly not an option: businesses need decisive action and need it now.

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Let me put this out there straight away: I have never seen a Harry Potter movie. Not one. I thought the “Hogwarts Express” was a racehorse.

So it was with some amazement I looked at the crowds waiting for a train last week like it was some sort of rock star.

Children and parents were equally excited, and the fact it stopped at Dalmuir only increased the excitement. Maybe I should have a wee peek at these films.

Spare a thought for those on the wrong side of the tracks at Singer, though: just as the Hogwarts Express came through, so did the Dalmuir train, blocking the view for half the waiting crowd. In some places that made more headlines than Harry’s train.

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Finally, when we eventually get to hold council meetings face to face, putting in a swear box would be good. Just saying!