Are These New Zealanders Celebrating the End of COVID-19 Restrictions?

In June 2020, New Zealand lifted all social distancing restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic after going two weeks without a confirmed case.

  • Published 9 June 2020

Claim

A video shows a group of people celebrating the end of COVID-19 restrictions in New Zealand.

Origin

On June 9, 2020, a video supposedly showing a group of people at a bar excitedly celebrating the end of coronavirus stay-at-home restrictions in New Zealand went viral on social media:

New Zealanders celebrating having eliminated COVID-19 as soon as the country went into level 1 (no more social distancing) from nextfuckinglevel

This video came as a surprise to some viewers during a time when most of the world, including the United States, is still dealing with the social distancing, business restrictions, and other safety policies put in place to combat COVID-19. 

The above-displayed video is real and truly shows a group celebrating the end of COVID-19 restrictions in New Zealand. This video was taken at Danger Danger bar in Wellington as the clock struck midnight on June 9, 2020, ending the country’s social distancing enforcement. 

Matt McLaughlin, the owner of Danger Danger, told Australia’s Stuff news outlet the following:

“It’s a great video of midnight hitting and everyone jumping off their chairs and jumping on the dance floor. It’s quite hard case… People want to socialise. They’ve been cooped up for three months, and they want to get out and see their friends.”

According to the BBC, the above-displayed video captured the moment that New Zealand officially moved to a “level one” on their four-tier alert system, meaning that all social distancing guidelines put in place during the pandemic were removed. There are now no limits on public gatherings (which means sports, concerts, and other large public gatherings can take place) and effectively no restrictions on business operations.

But one COVID-19 policy remains: New Zealand’s borders will remain closed to foreigners for the time being. 

While Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was not at the Danger Danger bar the when the video was taken, she did tell reporters that she did a “little dance” when she learned that New Zealand no longer had any active cases of COVID-19:

“While we’re in a safer, stronger position, there’s still no easy path back to pre-Covid life, but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild … While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone. So can I finish with a very simple, ‘Thank you, New Zealand’.”