Now the ACT must wait, held in lockdown limbo, while the remaining chains of coronavirus transmission are identified and broken. This virus doesn't follow a public timetable.
By announcing on Tuesday the ACT's initial one-week lockdown would extend to five weeks - at least - the territory government was trying to buy Canberra more time.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is a dastardly opponent, capable of seeping into the community even after tough restrictions are imposed on a generally compliant population.
Chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said after the extension was announced she was confident the ACT had the right lockdown settings in place. Mr Barr said it was still possible for the ACT to return to days of zero new cases.
The extra time to achieve that comes at a high cost.
The community has been asked to put their lives - and livelihoods - on hold, without a promise of when things would go back to normal. If you think about it for a minute, you realise it's an extraordinary blank cheque.
Mr Barr has sidestepped journalists' attempts at the daily media briefing to solicit yes or no answers, categorical statements, promises and pronouncements.
A wise choice. Even Nostradamus would have struggled with this one.
But strike me down with a feather if you can find a Canberran who doesn't wish they could say - or even promise - when lockdown will end. Unfortunately, that's just not how coronavirus operates.
In buying more time, the ACT government has had to spend real money and a little more of the community's patience.
Frustrations had grown since the announcement of a staged return for the construction industry. Businesses left teetering on the edge is a recipe for growing community anger, especially when the health reasoning appears at first blush to be counterintuitive.
Drill down a little deeper and it makes sense. Too much movement across town at the moment could spell disaster. More people at home equals fewer chances for the virus to move. It's about cumulative risk.
Epidemiology is a difficult discipline to explain at a press conference. But Dr Coleman and Mr Barr have done a good job of it. Community trust would have worn much thinner if they had not.
Of course, it was welcome news on Tuesday that the ACT government had struck a further deal with the Commonwealth to boost business support grants.
The money eases some of the pain, but not all.
Still, the pain of a virus running rampant in a community still mostly unvaccinated and vulnerable would be worse.
That view is what Canberrans have been asked to place their trust in.
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