Finnish Bar Hires Hundreds of Customers as Employees to Exploit Lockdown Loophole

Stylish wall full of spirit bottles in a bar
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A bar in Finland hiring hundreds of customers as employees, allowing them to eat and drink at the bar as staff, has not yet been found in violation of lockdown rules.

In the southern town of Imatra, Bar Q said it would be turning into a staff-only restaurant and hiring 500 employees. The Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland has said they will be keeping an eye on the bar, but so far, it has not broken any laws.

Senior Officer Markus Leivonen from the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland said, according to broadcaster Yle, that his agency had been in contact with police but admitted, “based on media information, it seems that it is legal”.

The report also revealed that police in southern Finland have received calls from members of the public regarding activity in local bars and restaurants. Over the past week, they have carried out 33 visits.

Chief Inspector Jukka Lankinen from the Southeast Finland Police also noted that some restaurant and bar owners were spying on each other and reporting each other for lockdown violations, a phenomenon that Lankinen had noticed from as early as the spring of last year.

While some businesses such as Bar Q have looked for loopholes to remain in business, many other company owners in Europe and North America have rebelled against the lockdown restrictions entirely.

In Italy, as many as 50,000 restaurants opened their doors to protest the lockdowns under the #IoApro (#IOpen) hashtag on social media in January.

Earlier that month in the Polish town of Zakopane, a similar rebellion saw hundreds of businesses vowing to reopen despite government lockdown restrictions.

Architect Sebastian Pitoń led the movement in the town, which is heavily dependent on tourism, and argued that the lockdowns were “destroy[ing] Poland and Polishness”.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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