A family separated from its father for two years is unsure whether travel permits will wreck their chance to reunite soon.
Jason Scott has been trying to get back to Victoria from Britain since the pandemic began and just recently checked in to Sydney hotel quarantine.
But an updated Victorian quarantine permit threatens to derail hopes of Mr Scott's odyssey ending on Friday.
His partner Kym Winton has been getting conflicting advice about whether Mr Scott will be able to travel straight into Melbourne without copping substantial fines.
"We don't come from money, so we don't have access to the kind of sums you need if we're fined for getting it wrong," she said.
The family has already spent a small fortune on airline tickets from the UK to Sydney - the only Australian city it could secure flights to.
Mr Scott needs to leave his Sydney hotel on Thursday and the only flight available to Melbourne is on Friday morning.
The hotel is not in a position to let him stay longer and the new permit's fine print does not clearly show whether he can stay at other accommodation before flying to Melbourne.
He will not be able to stay at the airport itself because it closes overnight.
So a 12-hour window risks derailing Mr Scott's homecoming with a $5000 fine plus pay for more hotel quarantine.
Ms Winton hopes her partner will be able to find accommodation somewhere else in a COVID-ravaged Sydney and not have to quarantine, again, back in Victoria.
"You can't just sit outside the doors of the airport overnight. That's ridiculously unsafe," Ms Winton said.
"Our only issue is the lack of clarity. We are not seeking any exemptions or exceptions to the rules. We are trying to play the game."
The Victorian government updated its border policy on Friday.
Multiple people and web pages within the state bureaucracy have given dramatically different advice about whether plans for the final leg of Mr Scott's journey will be acceptable.
The clock is ticking for the family. It needs certainty as soon as possible so it has time to make alternate plans if needed, Ms Winton said.
Neither state government webpages or a 68-page document outlining official border travel restrictions have helped Ms Winton get clear guidance.
"I'm a high school English teacher and I struggle to understand the information they have provided," she said.
"I would hate to be in a family that is not good with technology or the English language, trying to do the right thing. I wouldn't know how they would do that."
Ms Winton has been advised it is unlikely Mr Scott would qualify for an exemption to travel permit rules.
She had understood when Mr Scott was not put on priority travel lists early in the pandemic since he was not a naturalised Australian citizen.
Ms Winton had also been prepared to endure the heartache of a cancelled trip home in time for last Christmas when outbreaks had made it even harder to get people back home.
Now, she just wants her partner back home with his family.