AMSTERDAM’s infamous red-light district has reopened its doors ahead of schedule – but customers are banned from kissing the health-conscious sex workers.
Like any other non-essential business, brothels in the Netherlands were shut during the coronavirus lockdown.
However, as the infection rate dropped – the country has suffered just over 6,000 deaths – authorities moved the reopening date from September to July 1.
But this is not business as usual. Pictures show staff members in Amsterdam’s brothels scrubbing every inch of the love nests.
Randy customers will also be checked for Covid-19 symptoms and are also banned from face-to-face contact meaning no kissing.
Felicia Anna, chairwoman of the Red Light United trade union, welcomed the move to reopen brothels after the financially-crippling virus shutdown.
She told the Guardian: “During the lockdown, a lot of sex workers ran into financial trouble so we’re very happy that we can finally start our job again.”
And as for the extra-hygeine precautions, the city’s sex workers are used to government guidelines regarding health.
One unnamed escort said: “We already dealt with much bigger diseases than corona” presumably referring to sexually-transmitted viruses such as HIV/AIDS.
Janet van der Berg of the Prostitution Information Center discussed the extra-health measures.
She said: “We are, of course, used to taking care of hygiene.
“There are hand gels and we’ve thought about what positions are handy – or not – but that’s not in an official protocol, you can work that out for yourself.
“And once the client is gone, you have to disinfect the place well – I think in this way we can work as safely as other people who have to work close to their clients, like hairdressers.”
There had been fears there would be fewer clients due to most of them being tourists and a travel ban in many countries is still in place.
However, ‘Foxxy’, a sex worker and activist at the Prostitution Information Center in Amsterdam claimed she was “totally booked” earlier this week.
‘Foxxy’, who rents a room just outside the red light district added she “had a little party” when she heard the government’s June 24 announcement that sex work could restart.
‘Foxxy’ said: “Before I make an appointment, I have to check with the client if they’re feeling ok and if they don’t have any of the symptoms, or if any of their housemates has symptoms.”
Other measures include “disinfection and washing the hands, cleaning the sheets after every appointment.
“Those are the basic needs. But we don’t need to wear any face masks during the playdates, thank God”.
‘Foxxy’ added: “most of us will avoid face to face, so no kissing”.
The Netherlands legalised prostitution in 2000 – however sex work and brothels were legally “tolerated” for decades before that.
There are around 7,000 sex workers – who have to register with the local chamber of commerce and pay income tax – in Amsterdam, according to official figures.