Only a few hours will pass between two crucial events.
At 2.29pm, news emerged of a Covid-19 community case. And at 6pm, or very soon after, an announcement is expected from the Prime Minister.
Those hours and minutes can make a massive difference to business owners, managers and staff in industries already reeling from the pandemic.
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said the Covid-19 community case announcement was "gut-wrenching" for downtown Auckland businesses.
And now those shopkeepers, bar tenders, restaurant owners and others have a nervous wait ahead of the Prime Minister's expected 6pm press conference.
"I know there are people starting to prepare for the possibility of a lockdown," she said at 4pm.
Queues at central Auckland supermarkets suggested some members of the public were making the same preparations.
The community case timing was concerning for restaurateurs, Beck said, right in the middle of the city's Restaurant Month event.
Regardless of what official advice the country gets at 6pm or later, some diners were already cancelling reservations, preparing for a lockdown or alert level changes.
Business owners were having to make snap decisions - what bookings to keep, what bookings to cancel, what stock to preserve, what stock to discard.
"Fortunately, people have been through it before - but it doesn't make it any easier," Beck said.
Thousands of people who worked, shopped, or visited the CBD during the day would have to head home in the next few hours, and Beck urged people to be proactive and practice physical distancing where possible, and wear face masks.
The community case timing ignited bitter memories of last year's Auckland August cluster, she said.
But for now, many central Auckland businesses were living in limbo.
Wellington's hospitality operators were nervous too, Hospitality NZ national president Jeremy Smith said.
He expected if Auckland went to Level 3 or 4 lockdown, other regions would have their alert levels raised.
But Smith said if Auckland was only placed in Level 2, the rest of the country might see no alert level changes.
He admitted it was a waiting game for his members, like it was for the rest of the community.
"In some ways, we're bystanders. I'd love it if they spoke to us and said 'What do you think?' But...when it happens, we have to react."
Epidemiologist professor Michael Baker urged people to show initiative, by scanning in and practicing good hygiene.
He said previous lockdowns showed supply lines would keep running so in case it wasn't obvious, there was no need to rush to supermarkets.
Baker urged people who did go shopping to wear face masks, even if there was no mandate to do so yet.