At the IGA supermarket in the Lake Macquarie village of Wangi Wangi, it is Christmas all over again.
"It's been trading like it's Christmas-New Year, when we do really well, because we have an influx of holidaymakers," explains assistant manager Dean Gardner.
"So it's just like that. Actually, I think we're trading better than Christmas.
"But it's a double-edged sword."
Dean Gardner knows the boom trade is fuelled not by the summer sun but coronavirus fears.
As panic buying has led to the stripping of shelves in the large supermarkets, desperate shoppers have been foraging further afield, including in this little peninsula community on the western side of the lake.
"Over the last couple of days, I've seen a lot of people who I've never seen before," says Mr Gardner, who has worked at this Wangi retail hub for 23 years. "I've still seen all the locals, they've still been coming in, but I've seen a lot of out-of-towners coming in."
Asked what are they buying, he replies, "Whatever they can".
"We got a load in on Monday with four pallets of toilet paper (about 250 packs), got it down here, and by lunchtime it was gone.
"We were out of meat all day yesterday [Wednesday]. All our fresh chicken, out. Bread, we probably ran out just after lunch.
"We got a new supply of bread today. That probably won't last too long."
Scanning the almost empty meat section is Wangi resident Christine Langshaw.
"I called in, in case I could get a little bit of mince meat, and some sausages. The chances of that today aren't very good at all," she says.
"We'll probably end up having to show our licence to show we are a local, in the end, if this continues. You've got to do something to enable smaller towns, smaller communities, where people don't have much public transport, to be able to get the food that they need."
Sue Gumbleton, from the neighbouring community of Arcadia Vale, was hoping to buy toilet paper, meat, and some dog biscuits. Her hopes are largely dashed.
"The dog's doing well," Mrs Gumbleton says, pointing to what is in her shopping basket.
She looks at the vegetable section, which has been virtually cleared of potatoes. She notes the frozen vegetables section has also been thinned out.
"It's never been anything like this. Unreal."
Down the road, at Vita Cafe and Restaurant, husband and wife owners Michelle and Carl Tabone have taken to serving their food and coffee in disposable packaging.
The couple has been offering takeaway meals for those who wish to dine in isolation, but customers have continued to come into the little cafe.
"The last two days, I've met people who are holidaying here at the lake to get away from the city, and they feel quite safe to come here," Michelle Tabone says.
"They sit out in the sun and have coffee and a pastry, and breakfast."
A few bays to the north, in the community of Rathmines, butcher Steve Smith arrived at work on Thursday morning to find a queue at the door. That was after a torrid Wednesday, when just about all the meat was sold.
"Unbelievable," says Mr Smith. "And I've been a butcher for 47 years."
By late morning, the display shelves of Rathmines Butchery have been largely cleared again. There is no mince left. And the sausages are all gone, with Mr Smith saying, "we've sold five times the amount we normally sell."
The butchery is closing its doors on Friday to prepare enough meat for Saturday.
"We chose to close Friday, because we've got a lot of customers who work during the week, so that gives them a chance to get here [on Saturday]," Steve Smith says.
The veteran butcher believes there could be a shortage of supplies into next week, because of the overwhelming demand, which reminds him of Christmas time.
"But everyone gears up for Christmas; this has just come out of the blue," he says.
Back at the IGA supermarket in Wangi Wangi, Dean Gardner answers a stream of customers' questions.
"There's no eggs?," asks an older man.
"No eggs, I'm waiting on them," he replies.
"Excuse me, do you know when you're getting more pizzas in?," asks a woman.
"Hopefully some time today," Mr Gardner says.
Hope is the word. Dean Gardner is expecting a delivery of groceries in the late afternoon.
"Replenish the stock and go through it again tomorrow," Mr Gardner says. "It's Groundhog Day. Come in, just fill it, and it walks."
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