In proof that New Zealand is really not messing around when it comes to social distancing, Jacinda Ardern was turned away from a cafe in Wellington yesterday, because it was at capacity.

Cafes and bars in the country have begun to reopen, with strict limits on the number of patrons and a requirement that there be at least one metre of space between groups.

Yesterday morning, a Twitter user named Joey said: “Omg Jacinda Ardern just tried to come into Olive and was rejected cause it’s full,” followed by an aghast skull emoji.

“Never mind, they sorted her out,” he added a short time later.

The PM’s partner Clark Gayford later copped to the mistake, saying:

“I have to take responsibility for this, I didn’t get organised and book anywhere. Was very nice of them to chase us down st when a spot freed up. A+ service.”

The restaurant’s owner told the NZ Herald that it’s standard policy for staff to let customers know when a table opens up, and that Ardern was a model patron, saying:

“She had a lovely brunch and left half an hour later. She was lovely with all the staff … [and] she was treated like a normal customer.”

New Zealand has been praised for its swift and effective response to COVID-19, with the country shutting its borders on March 15 and going into full lockdown on March 25.

The nation has recorded fewer than 1500 cases as a result. This week, as NZ slowly began winding back restrictions, Jacinda Ardern praised her “team of five million”, saying:

“Kiwis from all walks of life were resolute and determined – determined that this was a war we could eventually win, but only if we acted together. The battle is won, but the war is not over.”

Image: Getty Images / Dom Thomas