Gunnedah residents going to the shops, attending religious services, and customer-facing employees should now wear masks, the NSW government says.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Sunday that while they haven't made mask wearing mandatory - yet - the move comes as the state records 13 new COVID-19 cases.
Every customer I've had this morning has been buying something for mask making.- Kathie Spence
Kathie Spence from Fashion Fabrics has been amazed at how many people are coming in to buy material for face masks.
She said the demand had already spiked in the wake of chain stores like Woolworths announcing late last week their request for customers to wear the masks.
"Every customer I've had this morning has been buying something for mask making," Ms Spence said on Monday.
She says the frenzy may resemble the toilet paper panic buying of the early pandemic, especially if the new recommendations do become hard and fast rules.
Elastic will be the new loo roles.
She's sold 150 metres in three days, has ordered another 200 meters, and will potentially make another order today.
Our biggest issue is that we can't get elastic. I can only by 3mm black elastic, there is no 6mm elastic in Australia in any stores.- Kathie Spence
"Our biggest issue is that we can't get elastic. I can only by 3mm black elastic, there is no 6mm elastic in Australia in any stores," she said.
"I think the other thing people think it is inevitable that we will get to that point Victoria is in ... so they are being prepared so that they don't get caught short," she explained.
The demand has been so high, the store will be hosting workshops to make your own mask on Sunday and Monday.
Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce president Juliana McArther said she didn't expect these recommendations to have an immediate impact on businesses, and if it did, it would be potentially positive.
She said she isn't the first nor last to admit standards of safety and precautions in the community had been relaxed a little.
"[Mandatory mask wearing] might actually encourage people to come out more if they know we have to wear them," she explained.
"But our businesses were quick to respond, with litres of hand sanitiser, COVID safety plans and contact tracing in place ... and they will continue to do their bit."
Woolworths announced all customers and staff in their stores, including Dan Murphy's, Big W and BWS, are "strongly encouraged" to wear masks.
Woolies' chief executive Brad Banducci said this was for the "safety and well being of our customers, teams and communities."