Sex workers in Amsterdam's Red Light District are back to business. The Netherlands had ordered all brothels closed in mid-March and had planned to keep them shut till September, but Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that they could reopen from 1 July as the number of COVID-19 cases had dropped.
The news came as a huge relief for sex workers as their income had taken a massive hit because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, even though the many windows of Amsterdam's De Wallen district have already begun to open, these now come with a brand new set of safety precautions, in addition to the ones sex workers already had in place.
Here's what one can now expect at Amsterdam's Red Light District:
1) According to the Prostitution Information Centre, contact should be short and all-high contact spots in rooms should be cleaned thoroughly, including the door handle, reports Dutch News.
2) Sex workers have been advised not to shake hands with customers, to shower or wash before and after every appointment, to change bed linen after every customer, and to "avoid each other's moist breathing zone". Basically, no kissing (something we already learned from Vivian in Pretty Woman).
3) No sex positions or actions have been taken off the table, and face masks are not mandatory, according to this report. But oral sex is not recommended.
4) Sex workers must work either on a one-on-one basis or with a couple who share a household.
5) The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, a Dutch research institute, has also prepared a questionnaire. Sex workers are encouraged to take their customers through this before their appointment.
6) They are also advised to provide adequate ventilation before, during and after the appointment.
7) Gloves, face masks and hand sanitisers will be available in each room in case they are needed.
Prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2000. Sex workers have to officially register and also pay income tax. According to official figures, Amsterdam has around 7,000 sex workers today.