After the initial rejoicing in the heartlands over a move to Delta level 2, it should now be sinking in what that really means.
New Zealand is entering a phase of more specific restrictions to protect against Delta generally - not just for this outbreak.
Routine coronavirus safety measures - in sync with vaccinations - have to work in order to both enable more contact with the outside world and hopefully avoid regular lockdowns.
Measures such as masking indoors while shopping, regular Covid-19 testing of essential workers, mandatory visit recording, and some indoor limits to avoid superspreader events will become familiar for the forseeable future.
People should expect that others could be added, just as measures have been overseas. Checking papers at level 4 boundaries isn't that far away from checking vaccination status to dine out, as is the case in Paris.
Mandates, where people know they have to do it, work better than voluntary rules. Tellingly, Covid scans were up to 1.6 million on Wednesday.
Some businesses have been taken aback by the new tighter restrictions in level 2, and are worried about financial hardship. Expanding outdoor hospitality areas, which are safer than the indoors, would help going forward.
Looking at the pandemic from a pragmatic, managed perspective, and with a view to reopening, is the most useful approach at this point.
Lessons from data and some tactics in encouraging vaccination overseas can be pointers. Countries with high levels of vaccination are now experiencing fewer hospital admissions and deaths among those dosed twice.
However, sizeable numbers of unvaccinated people overseas are falling to infection, becoming a huge weight on health systems, and dying. We don't know where our vaccination total will get to. It's also hard to imagine this country shrugging off multiple weekly deaths from Covid-19 as routine.
The Auckland outbreak has put the health system here under huge strain. We've had a taste of what it is like when the virus is loose and most people are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.
One positive aspect is that as of Thursday, none of the Delta hospital admissions has involved anyone fully vaccinated who has had two weeks for immunity to build. That's from 88 people who have needed that level of care and 855 cases.
Wednesday's vaccination number of 66,000 was down on recent highs of 80,000 to 90,000. New vaccine top-up supplies secured from Spain should help revive momentum and authorities appear to have heeded calls for different means to supply doses such as more drive-through and walk-in options.
The aim should be protecting as many of us through this pandemic as possible. We have too many medically vulnerable people, and the Māori and Pasifika communities are particularly at risk. The responsibility for reducing transmission has to be shared.
Some people will still be determined to learn the hard way and avoid vaccination. Dividing lines will have to be drawn between vaccinated and unvaccinated, and countries of differing risk levels. If the rollout is underwhelming, the Government and businesses can be expected to get tougher on mandates to push levels up, judging by overseas experience.
The Government has the challenge of developing a reopening system that's workable and sustainable.
Carving out a separate route for fully vaccinated Kiwis wanting short-term holidays, as opposed to people wanting to enter the country, seems practical. The MIQ booking system has left some returnees with long waits. MIQ's obvious and expensive threat to Auckland, with lockdown costing $1 billion a week, remains another big question mark in need of resolving.
Leisure travel requirements could include Covid tests before leaving and on returning, home self-isolation with further tests, and perhaps some form of compliance checking. A digital jab certificate will reportedly be available from December.
Travel with Pacific neighbours and Australia has been complicated by outbreaks. But many countries are more than 65 per cent partially or fully vaccinated, including travel hubs Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Although countries in the Asia region are generally a bit behind on vaccination levels, plenty of popular destinations in the Northern Hemisphere are well advanced, including Spain and Portugal at around 80 per cent.
The Government has slipped in quite a few, very necessary, changes while there's an acknowledged reason, rather than springing them on people later. A lot more will be in the pipeline.