A red traffic light means STOP. Unless you drive in Auckland, in which case sometimes it means stop, and sometimes it means floor it and hope for the best.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the red setting of the Covid Protection Framework (aka the traffic light system) has the same mixed meaning.
Unfortunately we're now pretty familiar with the clamouring of contradictory opinions that pours into our eyes and ears whenever the Government makes Covid announcements.
Personally, since the community spread of Omicron was announced on Sunday I've been really grumpy. I'm so over it - and was looking forward to returning to work after a lovely summer break to things being relatively normal.
Now things are far from normal, and it can be hard to know how worried we should be. So much of our pandemic response - and as a result our psychological response - has been hung on the idea that we can, and should, avoid this invisible foe. With Alpha, and then Delta this seemed possible.
Stay home, mask up, vaccinate, keep your bubble small.
We can still do all of that of course. Even though it can be tempting to just say "to hell with it, I'm so sick of all this", close your eyes, floor it and fly through the red light, hoping for the best.
Feeling this way is understandable. We call it being "counter-phobic". Running towards what we're afraid of to exert control over the anxiety and disprove our own fear.
It's okay to be afraid, and it's okay to not want to get Covid - Omicron or otherwise.
It's also okay to tune out the noise, and make your own decisions - individually, as a couple, as a family - about what risks you're prepared to take right now.
If it helps, a very unscientific poll over on my Twitter profile suggested a touch over 50 per cent of people intended to go into a voluntary level 3 lockdown - and at least at present - and as a family, we're doing the same.
I don't expect this to be forever - but based on the information we have right now, caution seems best.
Because even though it's human nature to want to figure out what's going to happen next, it's okay for any decision you make to be just for now. Even just for today.
Most importantly arm yourself with the facts - from reputable sources - and get clear about your own level of risk. This might be different from how anxious you feel, and recalibrating your anxiety can be hard. You may wish to be more careful, more "locked down" if you or your family has any health risk factors, are pregnant, have older people in your care or in your bubble.
And parents, what we know so far (I know it's counter-intuitive) is that kids are largely okay at school. All the evidence is transmission at schools - that are following all the public health advice about masks, ventilation and consistent bubbles - is much lower than other environments still open like restaurants and malls, and if they do get sick it's highly likely they'll be okay - if they're otherwise well.
We've been told to prepare a "Omicron" kit of medicines, food and other essentials. I'd also encourage you to prepare your emotional readiness. Talk to your loved ones and make a plan. What will you, and what won't you do. What risks are needed, and which do you feel comfortable with.
And regardless what you decide, don't judge others' decisions. We're all doing the best we can, and here's hoping the wave passes relatively quickly.