The online challenge itself dates back to May 15, beginning with the hashtag #голыйголод (“naked hunger”), set up by the Kazan-based ‘ReLab’ chain. The stated aim of the challenge was to raise awareness of the money issue that arose amid widespread forced closures at the height of the coronavirus crisis.
“We want to work and to earn money. This isn’t about one outlet. In Kazan alone, there have been several thousand closures. We’re not making any demands or ultimatums here, or engaging in any sort of provocations. We are asking for help, cooperation and support,” the bar wrote in an Instagram post.
The post talks about some staff having to “overcome, in some respects, our camera shyness and leave our comfort zones”.
Other restaurants and bars from all over Russia soon followed in their footsteps.
“We don’t understand how we’re worse than open markets, construction material suppliers and beauty salons. We’re ready to observe all the necessary precautions and safety and sanitation measures,” the staff from Holy Place and Funky Food in Krasnodar wrote on their respective Instagram pages.
Staff members of both restaurants took their clothes off on camera, captioning the photos with the hashtag “#голые рестораны/когда конец?” (“naked restaurants” and “when does it end?”).
The concept author of Ekaterinburg-based Georgeian restaurant ‘Beseda’ Albina Alvinskaya, joined the battle with the hashtag #вынасраздели (“you’ve left us naked”).
Meanwhile, a Sochi-based Italian restaurant had this to say: “Our business has been left without any financial support in the time of lockdown - and it’s not like we’ve been promised anything after this is all over. This is why we appear before you in the nude, to demonstrate what we’ve effectively been left with.”
Restaurants, bars and cafes weren’t the only ones in the food industry to protest the measures. They were also joined by cheese factories.
“Many smaller cheesemakers used to deliver their produce to the restaurants. Let all of this end soon, for the restaurants to open doors and for the cheese factories to get back to working at full capacity. Or we won’t even have enough for aprons,” cheese maker Maria Kandyrina wrote.
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