The announcement of a level 4 alert within the next 48 hours has triggered a sadly predictable spree of panic-buying across Auckland and farther afield.
Queues are quickly gathering at supermarkets, fruit and veggie stores and a range of other businesses across the country.
Only a few short hours after the announcement, the Pak'nSave at Wairau Park and the New World in Franklin Rd had closed their doors after too many people tried to visit the store at the same time.
• Covid 19 coronavirus alert level 2: NZ lockdown debate, more help for firms as global deaths soar past 13,500
• Covid 19 coronavirus alert 3: New Zealand to move to alert 4 lockdown for next four weeks - Jacinda Ardern says schools closed, essential services only
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Front-line health workers and other medical staff want alert level 4 now
• Coronavirus lockdown: What it means for schools, universities and other education facilities
Other stores have similarly been overwhelmed by Kiwis who left work early to stock up on everything they needed.
This despite Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pleading with New Zealanders not to panic-buy and to just stick with their usual shopping approach. Supermarkets fall within the essential store category and will remain open even during the level 4 lockdown.
Panic-buying has already placed enormous pressure on stores that are struggling to fill shelves fast enough to ensure people get the essential goods they need.
The behaviour from shoppers is understandable: we're entering uncharted territory and there are some real fears about how our lives are set to change in the coming weeks. Fear is an incredibly powerful motivator and can quickly usurp the rational side of our minds.
However, there are some important reasons why you shouldn't join the crowds at a time when restrictions are being put in place specifically to keep us at a safe distance.
As the Prime Minister said, "through decisive action, and through working together, we have a small window to get ahead of it".
But this only works if we stick to the guidelines and stay apart.
Cramming into shopping aisles does the exact opposite by putting you in close proximity with other people. The Ministry of Health confirmed there has already been community transmission and this is exactly why we should be looking to distance the space between others rather than looking to join the biggest crowd we can find.
Another concern is that it puts those working in the stores at risk. If you have a good side-step, you might be able to avoid interactions with the rest of the scrum desperately trying to get bog roll, but this privilege won't be afforded to the staff at checkout counters who have to help numerous people pay for their groceries.
The more people shopping, the more difficult it makes it for staff to keep their hands clean - and this could lead to them taking the infection home.
It's also worth noting that panic buying runs contrary to the notion of solidarity we should be embracing at this moment.
Buying as much infant formula, toilet paper, rice, bread or any other staples as you possibly can may deny other New Zealanders access to those products. Some may not have the means to reach other stores, which in turn means that your stockpile of products could lead to others going without unnecessarily.
Some might see this as added motivation to buy as much as they can - but this isn't the time to be selfish. It's the time to listen to recommendations of medical professionals and find the best way to limit the amount of contact we have with other people - particularly when those people are crawling over each other to get their hands on basic items on shopping shelves.
It might be hard, but we have to remember to be rational even when we're terrified.