The raggedy hairstyles and scruffy beards have been there for all to see on video calls, so barber Conrad Fitz-Gerald decided to reopen his shop at midnight Wednesday—the moment New Zealand dropped most of its lockdown restrictions as the nation prepared itself for a new normal. Fitz-Gerald said he'd had about 50 inquiries for midnight haircuts, but limited the initial customers to a dozen, starting with his 18-year-old son. He planned to then go home and return at 6am for another round of cuts. Malls, retail stores, and restaurants are all reopening Thursday in the nation of 5 million, and many people are returning to their workplaces. But most gatherings will be limited to 10 people and social distancing guidelines will remain in place.
The reopening reflects the success New Zealand has experienced in its bold goal of eliminating the virus, the AP reports. The country reported no new cases of the virus for a third straight day on Thursday. More than 1,400 of the nearly 1,500 people who contracted the virus that causes COVID-19 have recovered, while 21 have died. Most New Zealand schools will reopen Monday but bars won’t reopen until May 21, a decision that was prompted in part by the experience in South Korea, which has seen a spike in coronavirus cases linked to nightclubs in Seoul. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the nation now faces the most challenging economic conditions since the Great Depression. "New Zealand is about to enter a very tough winter,” she says. "But every winter eventually is followed by spring."
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