Coffee and fast food seemed to be the first thing New Zealanders thought about when the country emerged from almost five weeks of strict closure.
The alert level has been moved to level three, allowing re-takeaway stores and some nonessential businesses to reopen.
And it wasn’t long before queues were seen outside McDonald’s coffee shops and outlets when people ran out.
“That cup of coffee tasted amazing and I felt a sense of normalcy come back into my life,” said a coffee lover.
“There is nothing better than an expert barista who makes you coffee,” said Victoria Howe, who lives in Auckland.
Dr. Samantha Keene, a Wellington-based New Zealander agreed, saying “the ability to get someone else’s coffee and bun after weeks of making it myself was a real treat.”
But it was the reopening of McDonalds that excited people, with local media speaking to an Auckland resident who said he arrived at 4:00 AM.
The online footage showed queues of cars and people posing with their fast food loot.
“It’s great to have a treat at the end of a rather difficult period of confinement,” said Christopher Bishop, a local deputy, adding that his request was “a delicious McMuffin sausage and egg.”
But although the curve appears to have flattened out, New Zealand’s leading health expert has warned against people congregating outside public spaces.
“Like many people returning to work today, I have enjoyed a takeaway coffee. However, it is important not to congregate outside of cafes, parking takeaways like McDonalds. We don’t want to see the kind of bounce we’ve seen in other countries, “said Dr. Ashley Bloomfield.
Under the level three alert, one notch below its highest alert level, people have still been told to stay home and work at home if they can, but companies can open if they can provide a service without Contact.
Schools can also reopen, but they must ensure that social distancing rules are followed. However, mass gatherings remain canceled and public places closed.