In the days of the coronavirus (koronavirus, in Finnish) epidemic, many people are currently staying inside the walls of their homes from dawn to dusk. Urban mobility and social contacts are also reduced, as are the chances of having a regular social life.
Last Saturday, in an extraordinary session, the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta) decided to pass a law on the closure of restaurants. Therefore, restaurants, cafes and pubs will remain closed until 31 May, according to the government's decision.
That is why thousands of people were excited last weekend to visit the virtual digital bar, a place where they can chat with their friends via video connection while ordering their favourite drinks.
On the first weekend, over 26,000 people visited this digital bar. Helsinki residents were by far the most excited about hanging out there, but people from Kuopio, Oulu and Pori also found well their way there.
In total, the virtual bar was visited from 64 different countries over the weekend. Most of the visitors came from Finland.
The atmosphere in the bar is like the internet of the early 2000s, updated with modern video connections.
Order drinks and listen to music
The digital bar is based on Bob the Robot, an advertising agency based in Helsinki. According to its CEO Miska Rajasuo, the idea started with the needs of the workplace itself.
A couple of weeks ago, when advertising agencies moved away from the common space to telecommuting, there was a concern about maintaining the community.
At the end of the first week of teleworking, the office staff was able to test the digital bar, and it proved to be a success.
"It was damn fun!" said Rajasuo. When the concept worked well, they decided to open their digital bar to everyone.
“We created an atmosphere and a little playfulness. People can order drinks and listen to music,” described Rajasuo.