For 31 days, our community has been divided.
Lines of NSW police officers and Australian Defence Force personnel have separated communities along the Murray River like Albury-Wodonga, Wahgunyah and Corowa.
Bollards blocked bridges, checkpoints were patrolled while drones and helicopters monitored river crossings.
After decades drawing the two border cities together, creating a single health system and cross-border community - most people didn't think it could happen.
Even more didn't think it would.
But, on July 6, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews burst the bubble and confirmed the NSW government would close its state border with Victoria on July 8.
Overnight, Albury-Wodonga and other border communities were split.
Residents reeled. Mayors were blindsided.
The border was set to close for the first time since 1919.
Life as we knew it was about to change. But no one could quite say how.
Initially, politicians were keen to reassure Border communities that life would be able to continue as usual.
Ms Berejiklian said residents would be able to apply for a single permit valid for the entirety of the closure.
She said the first two to three days of the closure would be 'extremely difficult' for Albury-Wodonga, but it would get better.
Even so, when the countdown to the midnight border closure began the next day, residents were none-the-wiser on how the closure would work.
The long-awaited Border permit system, which allowed residents to cross for 'daily life', did not go live until 7.30pm... and crashed within 30 minutes.
As far as signs of things to come, it was pretty spot on.
The first day of the closure caused chaos on the causeway with cars backed up into the centre of Wodonga.
The ten-minute commute took many people well over two hours.
Even as the border came to a standstill, Ms Berejiklian said residents should not assume the flexibility would continue and highlighted that Albury-Wodonga residents should not travel beyond the bubble.
"When you have communities mixing with each other, crossing the border, it carries enormous risk," she said.
What would follow was nothing short of disastrous.
Each day, it seemed another problem would surface but most assumed once the kinks were ironed out, the worst would be behind us.
Then on July 20, Ms Berejiklian announced the border bubble would shrink.
From 11.59pm on July 21, the border community was redefined to a 'blue zone', in some parts encompassing just two kilometres either side of the border.
"If you ask the border communities they think I'm being too tough. I don't think we are being too tough, I think our response is adequate, but if we need to do more we will."Gladys Berejiklian
Two weeks later, problems persist.
For businesses, the blue zone changes have been absolutely devastating, with shops like Essential Ingredient losing 50 per cent of their usual customer base.
A Business NSW survey of 1200 border businesses found 5 per cent had closed as a result of the closure and 56 per cent had to alter the way they conducted their business.
Businesses reported revenue declines of between 30 to 50 per cent. Business NSW's Andrew Cottrill said some businesses would close for good unless government support came soon.
Some hoped the NSW government would ease border restrictions when Melbourne entered stage four lockdown and regional Victoria entered stage three, but it didn't eventuate.
Instead, it appears the border might be hit with even more restrictions.
Overnight Thursday, as border residents slept, the NSW government uploaded the latest border restrictions gazette. Over the coming days, the impact of these - and possibly more - changes will come to light.
Earlier this week, Ms Berejiklian said border communities were furious with her.
"People are angry with me because I am being too tough and they would like to see restrictions eased," she said.
"But we are having to be tough on the borders because of the situation that faces us...If you ask the border communities they think I'm being too tough.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"I don't think we are being too tough, I think our response is adequate, but if we need to do more we will."
Residents are angry, and it's not hard to see why.
The border closure has made it impossible for some people to attend work.
A daughter was denied entry into NSW on compassionate grounds, leaving her terminally ill mother to fend for herself after being release from hospital.
And for what?
The single Wodonga case Ms Berejiklian said she was deeply concerned about in the early days of the closure turned out to be a resident who was not even in the city.
And the three people in Lavington who had coronavirus had isolated after returning from Melbourne.
The, now separate, communities of Albury and Wodonga look vastly different to how they looked 31 days ago.
Wodonga has returned to stage three 'stay at home' restrictions and masks have become mandatory.
Not for a century have the twin cities been so divided.
The empty High Street and open Dean Street could not look more different.
But through it all our community has remained united in spirit, in identity and in the hopes of unification.