Cafe Sticking to Rules Turns Prime Minister Away

Ardern was allowed to dine after a table opened up
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2020 11:37 AM CDT
Updated May 17, 2020 11:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – A New Zealand cafe following her government's guidelines told Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern there was no room for her Saturday. After imposing some of the most restrictive social distancing guidelines in the world, the government began allowing cafes and shopping malls to reopen Thursday. The cafe Ardern went to in Wellington, Olive, has a cap of 100 diners, the Guardian reports. "We’re following every one of the rules," the owner said. New Zealand reported that as of Sunday, it had 1,149 confirmed coronavirus cases and just 21 deaths, per Reuters. Ardern's approval ratings are at near-record highs.

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In the end, Ardern was able to have brunch at Olive. A table freed up a few minutes after she left, and the manager chased her down. "She was lovely with all the staff," the owner said, adding that Ardern "she was treated like a normal customer." She'd walked to the cafe with her partner, Clarke Gayford, who took the blame for not making a reservation first. "I have to take responsibility for this," he tweeted, "I didn’t get organised and book anywhere." Ardern's press representatives said the restrictions make waiting at cafes likely. "The PM says she just waits like everyone else," they said. (Read more Jacinda Ardern stories.)

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