No one is an exception in the anti-epidemic regulations in New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and mate have just been rejected at a cafe because they have enough customers following the government’s social quarantine rules.
It is rare for a country leader to stop by a roadside cafe and the rejection of leadership is even rarer.
But that happened to the New Zealand prime minister on May 16 at a cafe in Wellington.
The story was spread on social networking Twitter surprised many people. “Oh my, Jacinda Ardern walked into the Olive shop and was denied because it was full,” wrote one account on the social network.
According to the New Zealand government’s social spacing policy to cope with the COVID-19 epidemic, shops can only serve up to 100 people and tables must be placed 1m apart.
Ardern’s partner, Mr. Clarke Gayford, later responded that it was his fault for not having arranged in advance.
Meanwhile, the prime minister’s spokesman explained that she did not want to send employees in advance to prepare for seats like other world leaders often do. During the COVID-19 epidemic, having to wait to drink coffee was something anyone in New Zealand could encounter.
“The Prime Minister said she wanted to wait like everyone else,” the Guardian quoted Ardern’s spokeswoman as saying.
However, the story ended happily when shortly after that there was a vacancy and the shop staff chased her back. “She had a delicious late lunch and left half an hour later,” said the owner of the coffee shop, saying he didn’t think it was that much attention.
New Zealand had fewer than 1,500 COVID-19 cases and only 21 died as a result of strong anti-epidemic measures taken by the government, including border closures on March 15 and national blockade 10 days later.