All going well, by the time the Prime Minister visits Auckland at the end of next week, the retail shops will be open after the city finally moves to step two of level 3.
It will make some difference, but Ardern is unlikely to get a hero's welcome for it.
The bigger question is whether Ardern can deliver on her promise to give New Zealanders the good old-fashioned summer they had always known.
That promise was made in mid-September after she put Auckland into its fifth week of a level 4 lockdown. The tradeoff for summer was a bit longer in lockdown. At the time there was still hope that it would again return us to Zero Cases Nirvana.
It did not.
Nonetheless, Ardern repeated her promise five weeks later when she set out the traffic lights system on October 21.
Asked if Aucklanders would be able to share Christmas with others, she said "absolutely, absolutely" before adding the caveat it might mean only vaccinated people could leave Auckland.
Delivering on that "absolutely" is proving problematic.
New Zealanders – and especially Aucklanders - have been expected to swallow a lot for the sake of this summer of hope.
The PM cannot afford to let them down now. That could leave her with the dilemma of either breaking the promise of summer – or breaking her 90 per cent vaccination target for all DHBs.
The first would risk the wrath of Auckland. The second risks the wrath of the regions, especially those such as Northland which lag behind on vaccinations.
When Ardern visits Auckland there is little doubt they will tell her which one they think it should be.
Some are assuming public pressure will be enough for the PM to abandon her pledge to wait until all DHB regions hit 90 per cent and throw open Auckland's boundaries to allcomers ahead of Christmas.
But the rising toll of Covid-19 on Auckland's health system, and the amount of work going in to try to work out how the boundary might operate over summer speaks to an inflexible approach on that.
And so there is now a long list of exclusions now attached to summer. Summer is conditional on being vaccinated. It is also conditional on other people being vaccinated.
Vaccinated Aucklanders may be able to enjoy a free summer within their highly vaccinated city walls, but if other regions are not also vaccinated they will not enjoy that summer anywhere else.
The logistical challenges of running different worlds for the vaccinated and unvaccinated are becoming apparent.
Poor old Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins became a laughing stock this week after he set out one potential way of coping with vaccination checks at Auckland's boundary.
He told RNZ one thing being considered was giving people allocated time slots to leave Auckland. That was to try to prevent a gridlock that lasted longer than the summer holidays themselves.
Winston Peters summed up the response most succinctly on Twitter, denouncing it as "simply nuts".
We can usually rely on Hipkins not to hit us with what Peters calls "bovine scatology" so we will be charitable and describe this particular moment as blue-sky thinking.
The next day Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson cancelled the idea as impractical, but did not put up any other ways to handle the situation.
Then Robertson was asked about the possibility of closing off under-vaccinated parts of the country to Aucklanders rather than closing off Auckland.
Robertson declined to answer, saying pondering options before decisions were made was not helpful.
The only group for which keeping Auckland within its boundaries for summer would have a silver lining is Auckland's hospitality industry.
It would be a rum thing if Auckland moved to the traffic light system and hospitality could re-open to vaccinated people, only for all those vaccinated people to disappear over the horizon.
The shemozzle over the logistics of the Auckland summer border was an early Christmas present for National.
The more complicated and ludicrous plans start to look, the more appealing National and Act's plan for a simple freedom day start to look: simply setting a date at which normal life would be able to resume, and leaving it to people to make up their own minds about whether to get vaccinated in advance.
Of course, the consequences of that policy might not be so simple if actually executed. Its appeal, however, is in its certainty – and its appeal will only increase if hitting 90 per cent vaccination rates remains elusive.
This week's NZ Herald Talbot Mills Research polling showed a high level of scepticism about whether all regions will hit the 90 per cent mark this year.
There are two ways the blame could fall for that: either on those not bothering to get vaccinated, or on the Prime Minister for setting a high threshold – and sticking to it.
The end of this month will be decision day, when Cabinet reconsiders the target before making further decisions about opening Auckland up.
The PM should brace for more protests before then.
But the Delta outbreak lockdowns have so far cost $5.3 billion in wage and business support. That is an eyewatering sum and climbing.
Aucklanders have spent three months in lockdown, under restrictions which have been blind as to vaccination status.
It is not sustainable. Ardern knows this.
The anti-vax groups might be cockahoop about de-railing Ardern's visits to vaccination centres in Northland and Whanganui, but it will have done Ardern herself absolutely no harm whatsoever.
More than 85 per cent of the country have been vaccinated and know full well they are now waiting for the rest of them to get to the 90 per cent land of freedom.
Ardern will not punished for a hard stance on vaccine mandates, or on anti-vaxxers.
What will do her harm is if her promise of summer turns to custard because she cannot get the unvaccinated across the line, and will not let Auckland move without them.
Where to get a vaccination in Auckland - without a booking