Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

New Zealand's Ardern turned away from cafe under coronavirus rules

The shop she tried to enter was too full according to the country's physical distancing guidelines

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a post-Cabinet media conference at Parliament House in Wellington where she announced the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown level 4 will continue for another week. AFP
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a post-Cabinet media conference at Parliament House in Wellington where she announced the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown level 4 will continue for another week. AFP

Hailed for her leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner were turned away from a cafe on Saturday because it was too full under physical distancing guidelines.

Ms Ardern's government relaxed many social distancing rules on Thursday, reopening cafes, cinemas and malls after two months of some of the tightest restrictions in the world to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Ms Ardern and Clarke Gayford walked to a cafe in the country's capital, Wellington, for brunch. They were initially told it was too full, New Zealand media reported. An employee ran after them a few minutes later when a table became free, and the couple went back.

Ms Arden's partner, Clarke Gayford, took the blame on himself.

"I have to take responsibility for this, I didn't get organised and book anywhere," Mr Gayford said on Twitter. "Was very nice of them to chase us down ... when a spot freed up. A+ service."

The prime minister's press service said that waiting at a cafe was to be expected with virus restrictions in place.

"The PM says she just waits like everyone else," Television New Zealand cited Ms Ardern's press service saying.

New Zealand has managed to contain the coronavirus pandemic before it strained the public health system.

There have been 1,499 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday and 21 deaths.

Updated: May 17, 2020 12:16 PM

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