Amsterdam’s red-light district re-opened on Wednesday, July 1 after being closed for more than three months during the Covid-19 lockdown.
As part of the conditions, sex workers have been advised to avoid kissing and follow strict hygiene measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
“We advise not to kiss, because this implies saliva exchange. The virus can be in the saliva and thus transmitted,” Debbie Mensink, a public health advisor in Amsterdam, told Reuters.
Africa Tembelea understands that while other workers such as hairdressers and masseurs are required to wear face masks, they will not be obligatory for sex workers.
“A lot of customers are also tourists and at the moment we don’t have a lot of tourists because there are a lot of countries that still have a travel ban. Hopefully it’s still going to be good for everybody, for every worker,” sex worker Felicia Anna told AFP.
“I did ask some of my colleagues and so far they said that the work is quite ok,” she added.
The Netherlands ordered all brothels closed in mid-March and had planned to keep it that way until September. For most sex workers it meant the loss of their main source of income, with many having little access to state support during lockdown. However, with the Covid-19 cases dropping, the Netherlands government opted to bring the date forward.