With South Australia entering a strict lockdown at midnight on Wednesday, the people of Adelaide and smaller towns across the state have rushed to the shops to stock up on essentials before they hunker down for a six-day “circuit breaker” shutdown.

Just like last time, good such as toilet paper, sanitiser and face masks have been flying off the shelves. Staples like bread, rice and pasta, as well as booze – despite the government backflipping on its decision to shut bottle shops – have been in high demand, too.

“I heard the news and ran away from my desk up the road because I knew it would be chaos after work,” one shopper at Coles told The Advertiser on Wednesday afternoon.

“I’ve been waiting probably an hour now, but it’s worth it because tonight will be crazy.”

However, supermarkets won’t actually have to shut during the lockdown.

“Supermarkets are going to be open beyond today, there is no need for people to rush to supermarkets, and if you do go shopping this afternoon, you are going to be managed by staff at the supermarkets,” Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said on Wednesday.

“We will have police officers on standby to attend if we see any civil disorder and we will be taking action.

“This is completely unacceptable – there is no need for panic buying.”

Now, both Coles and Woolies have brought back two-item purchase limits on essentials like bread, pasta, milk, eggs, mince, chicken breast and, of course, toilet paper.

“This is a stressful time for everyone,” SDA Secretary Josh Peak said about the lockdown.

“Retail workers are doing their absolute best to keep stock on the shelves. Stay calm, and treat frontline workers with respect.”

Previously on Monday, South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier was asked whether she was worried about panic buying after the current coronavirus cluster emerged.

“I think it is too early to tell,” she said at the time.

However just two days later, the evidence is clear. Although essentials will still be available throughout the lockdown, people are clearly anxious to stock up as soon as possible.

By Wednesday, Spurrier told people to knock it off.

“This is a time to be patient, to be calm and to trust in people there to support you,” she said.

“We all need to look after each other. It’s no point panicking and rushing to the shops and buying up lots of toilet paper. We have to be looking out for other people.”

Image: Twitter / @GJLysaght