July 23, 2010 / 7:15 PM / 9 years ago

Russian banks ease dress code to survive heatwave

A man jumps into a fountain to cool down in central Moscow July 20, 2010. Temperatures reached 31 degrees Celsius (87.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Russian capital on Monday. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Major Russian banks have relaxed their strict staff dress codes as the capital enters its fourth week of a heatwave that has broken a 29-year record. Men have been allowed to ditch their jackets and ties, while female employees can now show bare arms and toes, said bankers at no. 1 lender Sberbank, as well as VTB and Uralsib. But some banks sent out internal memos to say they drew the line at mini-skirts, shorts and gym clothes, bankers said.

Temperatures in Moscow hit 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) Thursday for the first time since 1981, as the heatwave that has destroyed Russian crops and caused a massive drought surges on with no end in sight.

Russians have been amazed by the high temperatures which have affected much of the country. Many retailers have sold out of air conditioners while the capital’s small patches of green are filled with bikini-clad women and shirtless men.

Reporting by Dmitry Sergeyev and Elena Orekhova; writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman; editing by Andrew Roche

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