Matthew DiMarco works at The Barn in Seaford on Monday afternoon....

Matthew DiMarco works at The Barn in Seaford on Monday afternoon. People are using drive-through convenience stores during the coronavirus crisis. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Thanks to the coronavirus, Matthew DiMarco, a manager at drive-through convenience store The Barn in Seaford, has barely had a free minute. 

DiMarco and Barn employee Lamont Leach — both donning white gloves as a precaution —  have kept busy attending the hundreds of customers who in the last couple of days have driven their cars up to the red building's windows to buy groceries quickly and at a social distance.

There's been an uptick in sales, too, at many of the other dozen or so drive-through convenience stores on the Island, business owners and employees at the establishments said. 

"Before all of this, we probably saw about 100 cars drive through here a day," DiMarco said. "But now, we can easily see that many in just a morning." 

The most requested items? Eggs, milk, bread, paper towels and, of course, toilet paper, said Leach, who has worked at The Barn for almost a year and says though shoppers ask for products like hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, those items have long been out of stock. 

"A lot of items have sold out. Someone was just asking for Entenmann's cakes -- those ran out. Another wanted hamburger buns. We don't have any of those left, either," he said.  

"Business has more than doubled. We're busy like this pretty much all day long." 

Ravi Patel, a manager at the Williston Park drive-through convenience store Williston Park Dairy, classified business there as "busier and a bit crazy."  

"Many customers drive up wearing gloves, others with masks on," he said.

"Everyone, myself included, is taking precautions and trying to keep as much of a distance as possible but, yes, we've definitely seen a lot of new faces here these days." 

Debbie Gershow Lindell, a mother of two whose kids are home from college, said she's a frequent shopper at Dairy Stop, a drive-through shop in Plainview. 

"I have it down to a science," she said. "I order through my cracked window, slide the money out, and then have them put my purchases in the backseat along with the change. It's quick and wonderful. The owners are always smiling and always wearing gloves." 

Arti Puri and Sam Khatter, the spouses who for 11 years have co-owned Dairy Stop, say fears over contracting the coronavirus at a crowded supermarket are what have led to soaring sales at their store. 

The shop is selling out of almost everything, she said. "Milk, bread, eggs. ... I'm calling my vendors several times a day to try to restock products, many times unsuccessfully," she said. 

With the shop, "we're usually just making ends meet, but business is so much better than usual right now that I'm not worried about not being able to pay my bills on time," Puri said. 

But make no mistake, Puri said. The situation is bad for everyone. 

"I'm worried about the virus, too. I'm constantly changing my gloves. I can tell people are scared. It's just not good," she said.

"If coronavirus is the reason my business is increasing, I don't want it." 

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