The COVID-19 pandemic caught many in the world by surprise. Though the threat was present, few knew just how quickly the coronavirus could spread or what it could do. Such is even the case with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell, who was in New Zealand on holiday when the pandemic hit in full force. New Zealand allowed Newell to settle in and work remotely from the country and, as a thank you for its generosity, Newell is arranging a free concert event in Auckland.
Gabe Newell recently went on New Zealand’s TVNZ to talk about his ongoing affairs during COVID-19. Apparently, Gabe Newell had been on vacation with a handful of other people including professional car racer Alex Riberas and his partner Teagan Klein when the COVID-19 pandemic became notable issue worldwide. Many countries faced lockdown in efforts to try to contain and curb the virus. As a result, Newell decided to stay in New Zealand far past his original plans and work remotely, which the country accepted.
New Zealand has been one of a few countries capable of diminishing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic almost fully thanks to social distancing and other efforts aimed at preserving people’s health and fighting off the disease, recently declaring itself “COVID-free” as reported by the BBC. Meanwhile, Newell and company were so thankful for the country’s generosity in allowing them to stay that they are arranging a free concert event in Auckland on August 15 as a thank you.
“These events are a thank you to the people of New Zealand for being so kind and welcoming, and also an acknowledgment of the hard work that 'the team of 5 million' have gone through to get us to where we are now,” Newell said, referring to the population of New Zealand who engaged in safety measures to fight back against the pandemic. “The hardest part by far is being worried about friends and family who aren't in New Zealand. When I talk to people back in Seattle, it's a very strange time. It's very challenging. They're very isolated.”
Indeed, as New Zealand celebrates its efforts, other nations, perhaps most prominently including the United States, have struggled to find a unified answer to slowing the spread of the pandemic. Around the time Newell was on holiday, the Valve team was shipping the prolifically good Half-Life: Alyx. Even so, one can hardly fault Newell and company for staying put or thanking the country that allowed them to do it. While a concert or other large gathering seems dangerous elsewhere right now, it looks like many will get to enjoy a celebration of their success against the coronavirus on the Valve co-founder’s tab.