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Russian Restaurateurs Strip Down to Protest Virus Lockdown

Russia's nationwide coronavirus lockdown has been devastating for small businesses, particularly restaurants. typicalcooks / Instagram

As parts of Russia begin to gradually ease their coronavirus lockdown measures, restaurant workers across the country are stripping down to their skivvies to protest their workplaces' continued closures.

The nationwide lockdown has been devastating for small businesses, particularly restaurants that had already been scraping by from month to month before they were ordered to close. Only restaurants that provide delivery services have been able to stay in operation.

This week, workers at Russia's restaurants, cafes and bars are demanding to be allowed to re-open with the "goliye restorany (naked restaurants)" hashtag. In each post, workers pose together in nothing but face masks and a sign to cover their privates to symbolize how the lockdown has stripped them of their ability to work.

The movement, which started in the southern city of Krasnodar, has spread all the way to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia.

Here's a look at the fleshy flashmob:

"We very much look forward to the day when we can meet our guests and give warmth, real hospitality and vivid, bright emotions," the flashmob's statement says. 

"Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get any instruction or at least some understanding from the authorities about when we can start to work."

"We do not understand why we are worse than fairs, construction businesses and beauty salons," the statement continues, referring to how some small businesses are now allowed to re-open in certain regions.

"We honestly don’t want to fool around, we just want to work," said Kaliningrad-based restaurateur Maxim Zdradovsky. 

The flashmob has proposed re-opening restaurants with added sanitary procedures including leaving a 30-minute wait time between tables at sit-down restaurants, allowing customers to sit on outdoor terraces only, reduing the number of tables and place them further apart from each other and frequently disinfecting the restaurant interior.

As of now, it's unclear when restaurants in most regions will be permitted to re-open to the public again.

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