Walking through the Canberra Centre on lockdown day one in pandemic year two is like witnessing the makings of a business disaster.
Shop after shop is shut - meaning income after income is on pause, for longer than the few tradeless traders who have opened up dare to fear.
The car park is as empty as on a Christmas Day. The canned music plays to an empty house. Only the supermarkets are still open and selling.
Those who kept their heads and refused to panic when the lockdown was announced may be pleased to know that the shelves for toilet paper are stacked and packed.
Somebody smart in supermarket planning foresaw the dark side of human nature and made sure demand would be met (at least in the immediate future at the Canberra Centre Aldi).
But mostly, in the normally bustling shopping core of Canberra, business is bleak.
"We are ready for customers, but there's no one around," Burak Kesmez says as he stands behind the counter at his phone stand.
"I am alone."
He says he is there because people need their phones, and he does repairs. It is an essential service.
Outside the centre, too, lone traders are lonely traders.
At the Fish Shack on Petrie Plaza, there is minimal demand.
The sit-down restaurant is closed, but takeaways are available - but with hardly any takers, fish-fryer Sujan Gurunz says.
The few shoppers in the Canberra Centre are there for the supermarkets. There is nothing like the crush of the day before.
Even though Canberra went through lock-down last year, people say they feel like this one is a new experience.
One public servant tells me that he is learning to juggle parenting three children and working from home.
He thought he would have to "reconfigure [his] work day", so he now does more of his day job at night.
He draws some comfort from the scarcity of people.
"The stores are very quiet, so I think Canberra will be successful in shutting it down this time," he says.
He believes the attitude of people in the ACT to lockdown is in marked contrast with that of those living in Sydney.
"We are a more law-abiding society," he opines.
Some store and restaurant keepers seem genuinely stunned by the lockdown - fearful, even.
They are not confident it will only last for a week.
One person is weepy, his voice cracking with emotion.
"It's really difficult," he says in a deserted cafe, which normally would be bustling on a Friday morning.
"Just when things are starting to get better ... then it's just one step forward and two steps back."
The trade association which speaks for the hospitality industry is putting a brave face on the prospect of a seven-day lockdown.
But it and the industry's countless waiters and baristas and servers will be watching the numbers - that is, the numbers of new cases of Covid, which will determine the number of dollars going into the tills and their bank accounts.
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