In the border town of Wodonga, the miserable travellers trapped by the rule change that cancelled their travel permits have been smothered in kindness.
Motels have slashed their rates for the Canberrans caught on the wrong side of bureaucracy.
In some unscrupulous places, hotels jack up their prices when demand rises - but not in Wodonga.
"We are just trying to give them reduced rates so they aren't hurting," Mark Brown, the manager of the Blazing Stump Motel and Suites, said.
Strangers have helped beleaguered travellers with their internet and guided them to the right office in town where help might be available.
There's been discussion about setting up food runs for the people sleeping in cars.
In the fires, there was emergency accommodation in the show ground and if the current impasse continues, Mr Brown said the town would do the same again.
The unexpected crisis suddenly appeared for the town on Friday, after the block on travel across the border into NSW was imposed at midnight on Thursday night.
When it emerged that countless people were trapped in Wodonga, the first thing mayor Anna Speedie did was ring the police.
Earlier in the virus crisis, the town was caught out when people from Melbourne used it as a staging post to cross the border illegally.
But this time, the police said that the people trapped were in genuine need, so the mayor rang round the town's hotels urging them to put out the welcome mat for the beleaguered non-travellers, many of whom are trying to get home to Canberra.
"These are gorgeous people and they are very upset and we are trying to do the right thing," she said. "They are really genuine, but through misguided, misplaced bureaucracy, this has happened."
The area straddles the border. The population of around 41,000 in Wodonga is matched by about the same number of people in Albury on the other, NSW side of the Murray River.
The health service covers part of both states. There are hospitals in both Albury and Wodonga - so everyone knows how border rules affect everyday life, the mayor said.
On Friday, half the staff of the main hospital were wondering how the new rule affected their ability to work.
The people temporarily stuck in Wodonga appreciate the kindness.
The police have been great - very understanding. They are just doing their job. It's just the arrogant, bloody stupid politicians.Kim Cartwright
On Monday night, farmer Kim Cartwright and his wife Robyn got a visit from the people who run the local take-away.
"We had told them our story and got back to the room with the food.
"At about seven o'clock there was 'knock, knock, knock'. They had come to tell us where there was an office where we might get help.
"They didn't have to do that."
The couple said "a young fellow" had helped them with the internet. "We aren't rocket scientists and he spent 10 minutes helping."
Mr Cartwright is more impressed with the police than he is with the politicians.
"The police have been great - very understanding. They are just doing their job.
"It's just the arrogant, bloody stupid politicians."
It is not clear when the politicians will resolve their differences - or what those differences might be.
The NSW government has now set up a special office at the Cube arts venue in Wodonga - but the travellers say that the well-meaning helpers there are helpless in the face of the political impasse.
Many in the motels are staying inside just in case there's eventually a demand to prove they haven't been near infected people.
Some seem bewildered - and with a quiet anger that seems to be burning a bit more fiercely by the day.
When they do eventually move on, Cr Speedie said they would be welcome back.
Whether the experience has burnt them too much remains to be seen.