Coronavirus: How to have a Govt-approved 'park piss-up' without breaking the law

Before you take up the Prime Minister's suggestion of meeting up with friends for a long-awaited outdoor beer, it might pay to double-check your chosen drinking spot won't land you in trouble with the law. 

From Wednesday Aucklanders will be allowed to meet up with people from one other household bubble (at a time) for "a walk, a picnic or a beer", Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, as the city moves to 'step 1' of its three-phase transition to level 2, even as the virus circulates. 

"Go and have a socially distanced outside beer with a friend, just to feel a little better," she told The Project that evening. 

While some figured that meant having a backyard beer, others interpreted it as the Prime Minister giving the green light to "park piss-ups" and debauchery on the beach

While that's not exactly what she said, city authorities are urging Aucklanders to check whether their meet-up place is currently under a liquor ban.

"The current bans for places and times continue to apply, noting that many places are night-time bans, so allow for a picnic drink," a spokesperson for Auckland Council told Newshub.

"Under no circumstances should anyone be swimming if they have consumed too much alcohol and people should also remember to stay hydrated, be sun smart, be mindful of others around them and make sure they have a safe way of getting home."

Auckland Council has an interactive map you can check to see if a park or beach is under a liquor ban, and at what times. Areas with 24-hour bans include the CBD, parts of New Lynn, Henderson, Ponsonby, Glen Innes, Manukau, Flat Bush, Mangere and Takapuna. Some parks have 7pm-7am bans in place - particularly in west Auckland - while many others have 7pm-7am bans in winter and 10pm-7am during daylight saving hours.

The 'outside' part of the gathering is "critical", Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told The AM Show on Tuesday, with the virus much more infectious indoors. But if you do decide to down a few at a friend's place, Robertson said it's fine to pop inside for a wee - on the entirely reasonable condition you go alone. 

"We are not expecting there to be gatherings of people in the toilet but if people need to go no doubt they will manage that situation."

Any "piss-ups" desperate Aucklanders partake in will likely be less wild than those of their youth, with a limit of 10 people allowed from a maximum of two household bubbles.

Police said they'd break up any piss-ups taking place in a liquor ban area regardless of its size. 

"Police will continue to enforce liquor bans in areas where they are in place," a spokesperson said. "We are not concerned about this being an issue."