The Austrian government has eased Wuhan coronavirus restrictions on several professions — including prostitution — but pubs and bars remain closed.
Prostitutes were placed in the same category as hairdressers, masseurs, and beauticians, but only home visits will be allowed under the new rules. Clients will also be required to have either a negative coronavirus test result or wear an FFP2 (P95) mask.
Brothels and strip clubs will remain closed along with bars and restaurants as they are considered a separate category under the lockdown restrictions, Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung reports.
Dominatrix and prostitution activist Shiva Prugger noted the problems with the new rules, saying: “If a customer is currently ordering a sex worker to their home, they don’t need a corona test, because the service takes place in their private premises.”
French Prostitutes Demand Coronavirus Govt Cash Bailout https://t.co/DNflQPpdqc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 9, 2020
Street prostitutes also face issues in cities like Vienna, where they are only legally allowed to operate in certain areas after 8 pm. This condition conflicts with the current government curfew from 8 pm until 6 am, which took effect on February 8th.
The sex worker activist organisation Sexarbeit (BSÖ) says they are in negotiations with the Vienna government to allow prostitutes to take to the streets earlier than 8 pm to “earn money legally for at least a few hours a day”.
Austria’s sex workers are not the only ones to complain about restrictive lockdown measures. Last year, brothel operators in Germany launched a lawsuit against the government’s lockdown restrictions, arguing that the rules conflicted with professional freedoms.
The brothel owners noted at the time that they had developed their own guidelines to make sure clients and workers maintained proper hygiene protocols.
French prostitutes have also complained about the restrictions. One activist organisation went as far as demanding sex workers be given a government bailout because they were forced to cease work.