No special favors: New Zealand leader turned away from cafe

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her fiancé, Clarke Gayford were turned away from a cafe because it was too full under coronavirus guidelines. (AP)
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Updated 16 May 2020

No special favors: New Zealand leader turned away from cafe

  • Many New Zealand restaurants have limited their seating to comply with the rules

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: New Zealand’s leader found out there are no exceptions when it comes to social distancing after she was initially turned away from a cafe because it was too full under coronavirus guidelines.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her fiancé, Clarke Gayford, decided to get brunch Saturday at Olive, a restaurant in the capital, Wellington. That was two days after the country relaxed many of its lockdown rules, including reopening restaurants.
But social distancing rules still apply, requiring groups to remain at least 1 meter apart from each other. Many restaurants have limited their seating to comply with the rules.
What happened next played out on Twitter:
“Omg Jacinda Ardern just tried to come into Olive and was rejected cause it’s full,” wrote one Twitter user, Joey.
Gayford took the time to respond: “I have to take responsibility for this, I didn’t get organized and book anywhere. Was very nice of them to chase us down st (street) when a spot freed up. A+ service.”
Another Twitter user, Joanne, chimed in: “This has to be the most Kiwi tweet I’ve ever read ... love it, love NZ.”
Asked for comment, a spokesperson from Ardern’s office said in an email that waiting at a cafe is something that anyone can experience during New Zealand’s virus restrictions: “The PM says she just waits like everyone else.”
Ardern has been widely praised for her swift and decisive response to the pandemic. New Zealand closed its borders and instituted a strict lockdown in March, and has been largely successful in its goal of eliminating the virus. Health authorities have reported just a single new case over the past five days. The country has confirmed a total of 1,498 cases, including 21 deaths.


Silent but cheerful, mannequins enforce social distancing at Tokyo bar

Updated 51 min 49 sec ago

Silent but cheerful, mannequins enforce social distancing at Tokyo bar

  • Tokyo recently began to ease restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

TOKYO: They may not be helping out with chants but complete with cheerleader uniforms and pom-poms, mannequins at one Tokyo bar are helping keep customers a safe — and cheerful — distance apart.
Tokyo recently began to ease restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a respite for bars and restaurants dependent on the city’s normally thriving nightlife even if customers are not yet back in full force.
“Our restaurant looked very empty and we wanted to add more excitement,” said Arata Funabara, owner of Cheers One, a cheerleading-themed bar in the capital’s upscale Ginza district which counts both women and men among its clientele.
Other safety measures include face shields and gloves for the bar’s cheerleader waitresses who perform karaoke songs on request. The shields and gloves are also on offer for patrons.
Waitress Chinatsu Fujii said the mannequins made for a safer work environment.
“It takes a bit of getting used to but it’s reassuring that they are here and I think of them of workmates,” she said.
Japan has recorded some 17,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 900 deaths.