Berlin agrees to reopening of sex work

BERLIN – The city of Berlin has agreed to a gradual reopening of the sex industry despite the coronavirus pandemic, with sex workers to begin offering services again from Saturday.

However, clients will have to do without intercourse until September 1, after which such services will be permitted only under strict hygiene rules, the capital’s state health authority said on Tuesday, following a decision by lawmakers in the regional parliament.

The first phase will allow places such as dominatrix studios to reopen.

Sex work has been banned in Germany since mid-March as part of efforts to bring the pandemic under control.

The decision by the state of Berlin to reopen the industry was taken “from a health, but also from a women’s policy perspective,” a statement from the health authority said.

“Otherwise, there is a risk that those affected will become dependent on others due to economic hardship and will secretly carry out their work under conditions that are hazardous to their health,” it added.

Following efforts to coordinate a national response at the start of the pandemic, easing anti-coronavirus restrictions has been left up to Germany’s 16 federal states in recent months.

-www.dpa-international.com