OPINION: Senior Wellington journalist Georgina Campbell's fortnightly column looks closely at issues in the capital.
The country needs to know what Covid-19 alert level 1 will look like and what it will take to get there, while Auckland is grappling with the Delta outbreak.
The Government is navigating a difficult juggling act to manage the social cohesion necessary for its elimination strategy.
And it's not just Aucklanders reaching breaking point with the heavy burden of an ongoing alert level 4 lockdown that's of concern.
Across the rest of the country, accepting life at Delta level 2 is a hard pill to swallow when there haven't been any community cases for some time.
Critically, one of the new rules is a limit of 50 people at hospitality and event venues, while outdoor venues can have up to 100 people.
The cost of that in Wellington is already being counted by closures and cancellations.
The World of Wearable Arts show, scheduled to run throughout October and bring $28 million to the local economy, has been cancelled for the second year in a row.
Meanwhile, owners of high-profile eatery Prefab told staff they were ceasing operations immediately and that, regretfully, all positions at the cafe would be redundant.
Hospitality NZ chief executive Julie White's read on Prefab's situation is grim: "I liken that to the canary in the mine – it's a sign of things to come", she said this week.
It's clear a significant number of people are still working from home. A city councillor said the first three weekdays of Delta level 2 felt more like alert level 3.
But even if they did all come back, bars and restaurants can do only as much business as the rules allow, which is 50 people at a time.
On Friday night, the dinner atmosphere at Olive was subdued.
Saturday lunch at Ombra was buzzing, but that could easily be put down to the fact Wellington was having one of its "good days".
On Sunday the few people visiting Te Papa looked more like lone ants crawling around a building that has 36,000sq m of public floor space.
One Wellington hospitality operator estimated this week's sales would be about 45 per cent of what they were pre-lockdown.
Delta level 2 is of just as much interest to Auckland as it looks to move down alert levels and the reality is the tills aren't ringing.
Wellington is the only location outside of Auckland where people in the community have tested positive for Covid-19.
The last positive case was 12 days ago, but even that case and the ones before it were all household contacts, who were already in isolation.
When Cabinet decided to keep Wellington in level 2 on Monday there were five active cases in the region with 12 others having recovered.
Delta level 2 seems more designed for Auckland to move into, where there has been a large-scale community outbreak, than for the rest of the country to be in now.
The argument for keeping Wellington at alert level 2 is that there is still a risk Covid-19 could make its way down from Auckland.
It could slip through the regional border despite best efforts, or it could make its way through via people deliberately flouting the rules.
Like the Auckland couple accused of using their essential-worker credentials to drive to Hamilton and then fly to their holiday home in Wānaka.
The rest of the country outside of Auckland is at level 2 on a just-in-case basis.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that although there's nothing to indicate there's Covid-19 outside of Auckland, there is still reason to be cautious.
If the virus was to travel across the border ,the impact would be far greater than if a case emerged in level 2, she said.
But Delta level 2 has the ability to both destroy and protect.
Businesses are eating into their reserves, people are staying home more than they usually would, plans are on hold, and events are being cancelled.
Until everyone has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, Aucklanders don't have much of a choice about enduring lockdown in an outbreak such as the current one.
They have been stuck doing the heavy lifting only because most of our managed isolation and quarantine facilities are based there.
On Monday Ardern announced Cabinet made an in-principle decision to move Auckland to alert level 3 on Tuesday next week at 11.59pm.
She said she wanted to give people a sense of the Government's direction of travel.
The rest of the country needs to be shown a pathway too, instead of living week to week and being in the dark as to when and what level 1 will mean.
Businesses, in particular, need something more immediate than the carrot Ardern offered earlier this week- that the Government will find a way to have the events that make New Zealand summers.