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An ingenious Russian company has created a digital bar to alleviate the isolation of extrovert people who are alone.
More and more Russians are opting for preventive isolation after confirmed cases of coronavirus have risen sharply. As of March 19 there were about 200 cases. The same day, the Russian authorities confirmed the first death in the country: a 79-year-old woman with underlying health problems. Health personnel have expressed concern online about the capacity of the country's hospitals, whose guards are collapsing with cases of pneumonia, one of the symptoms of COVID-19.
The Russian government has taken strict measures to prevent contagion. Starting March 7, travelers from affected countries must complete a mandatory quarantine of 14 days from arrival. The penalty for noncompliance with the period of isolation may consist of lengthy prison terms; And to ensure this, those affected in Moscow are now subject to the city's controversial facial recognition camera system. Starting the week of March 15, the country closed all its borders to foreign citizens until May.
Like the rest of the world, Russians are buying in bulk from supermarkets and preparing for a long period of confinement in their homes. They connect to the internet and share tips and experiences on video blogs and Facebook posts tagged # яостаюсьдома (I stay at home). In other words, they are following the example of Stay the Fuck Home, an international campaign that encourages people of all ages to stay home in a desperate attempt to “curb the curve.” If social contact is reduced, the risk of contagion decreases, and therefore the increase in hospitalizations and the collapse of health systems are avoided.
The Stay The Fuck Home bar appeared online on March 14. It is a product of the St. Petersburg startup, Shishki Collective, and its goal, “with borders closed but hearts open,” is to help people in isolation around the world connect with others over a beer or glass of wine. . Users can access any of the chat rooms available 24 hours offered by the Whereby video conferencing platform, only with an internet browser and a webcam if they wish. The four “bars”, which allow the entry of twelve users each, have a different theme: for example, one is for art and design lovers, and another is for users who want to practice English.
According to the Calvert newspaper, more than 30,000 users visited the website in the first 24 hours from launch. Mikhail Shishkin, Creative Director, commented to the online magazine The Village that the idea for the bar came about when the Shishki Collective offices closed, due to which employees looked for new ways to maintain social contact:
“Устроено все просто: наливаешь бокал пива, заходишь в онлайн, там сидят какие-то ребята – кто-то из Лос-Анжелеса, кто-то из Таллина, кто-то из Харькова, из Москвы. Парень из Испании, к примеру, показывает, что за окном чудесная солнечная погода, но на улицах нико Так что это такое живое общение, все знакомятся, разные темы обсуждают ».
The system is simple. You pour yourself a beer, you connect, and there are already some people there, someone from Los Angeles, someone from Tallinn, from Sarkov, from Moscow. For example, someone from Spain shows the beautiful sunny day that he enjoys from his window even if nobody is on the street. It is about real-time communication where everyone can get to know each other and discuss different topics.
Shishkin hopes that as long as the actual bars close their doors in the coming weeks, the clientele will continue to socialize in specific chat rooms. He says that together with his colleagues they are helping several establishments in Saint Petersburg to open a “digital branch” on the website.
RuNet users seem to be delighted with this project. It only remains to hope that this virtual fervor is the reflection of the same firm commitment to stay at home in real life. When the author of this note logged into the bar on March 19, he found that the chat rooms were almost at their maximum capacity, including traces that periodically friendships and digital connections are being created that cross borders and perhaps political divisions.
“I'm really tired of this,” sighs Anton, in his forties at his kitchen table. Three other men nod in agreement in grief. “Oh, someone from Kiev has joined,” they say and smile.