Amsterdam's Red Light District To Reopen On Wednesday
The world famous red light district in Amsterdam is due to reopen for business on Wednesday (1 July).
The brothels were originally due to begin trading once again from 1 September, but the Netherlands prime minister Mark Rutte brought the date forward by two months amid easing of coronavirus lockdown measures in the country.
He gave the red light district the green light to reopen after the coronavirus national daily death rate fell into single figures.
Rutte said: "It's a contact job like the hairdresser and masseur, and so they need to ask in advance if [clients] have any symptoms."
Sex workers are also expected to avoid oral sex and wear gloves as they welcome back customers.
André van Dorst, director of the VER union for relaxation businesses, told The Sunday Telegraph: "There are already public health institute hygiene protocols, which were no problem to introduce in the industry and are in general complied with. The same thing will happen with corona because nobody trusts this virus - everyone is in safety mode."
The news that brothels will reopen much sooner than previously anticipated has been warmly welcomed by sex workers, many of whom have been unable to access financial support from the government because of how they are registered.
Felicia Anna, president of the union of sex workers in Amsterdam's red light district, told ANP: "Everyone is very happy with the news that we can finally reopen. We have no more money."
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Last month, the Dutch government advised single people to find a 'sex buddy' during lockdown.
The country began an 'intelligent lockdown' on 23 March, permitting small gatherings of people if social distancing is observed; however, the government acknowledged that the 1.5m distance rule in the country prohibited singletons from sexual intimacy.
As such, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) updated its guidance, allowing singletons to make sensible 'sex buddy' arrangements.
"It makes sense that as a single [person] you also want to have physical contact," the guidance reads.
"Discuss how best to do this together. For example, meet with the same person to have physical or sexual contact (for example, a cuddle buddy or 'sex buddy'), provided you are free of illness.
"Make good arrangements with this person about how many other people you both see. The more people you see, the greater the chance of [spreading] the coronavirus."
The policy was updated after outcry from singletons who argued social distancing rules were much more difficult to adhere to for them.
Linda Duits, a journalist specialising in gender issues, wrote in an opinion piece for Het Parool: "Proximity and physical contact are not a luxury, they are basic needs.
"If we have learned anything from the Aids epidemic, it is that not having sex is not an option."
At the time of writing, the death toll in the country stands at 6,105, with more than 50,000 people having tested positive for the virus.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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