Sputnik’s correspondent went to one of Thessaloniki’s streets, which is famous for its many brothels, in order to assess the impact of coronavirus restrictions on the sex trade.
Measuring Customers’ Temperature
Covid-19 has drastically changed the services offered by the sex industry. To protect brothel clients, not only have sanitary and epidemiological standards been introduced, but also contacts between clients and sex workers have been regulated, which may prevent cases of COVID-19 infection among clients and workers.
Brothels in the street are divided into two categories: “gold” and “silver”. The “gold” group includes “gold” high-level rooms, with prices starting from €40, while the “silver” group is made up of cheaper rooms.
Before entering the brothel, the customer needs to have his temperature measured.
“If a potential visitor has a high temperature, they won’t be able to get inside. The temperature is measured before entering the brothel,” Mr. N. who advertises several brothels on the Internet, explains.
“Customers have to put down their names and phone numbers in a special book, so that they can be informed in case of possible infection,” Mr. N. explained.
Sanitizers, Shower and Disposable Sheets
The “gold” studio is lit in red tones. In the spacious lobby there is a reception desk, multiple sofas and a massage chair. Some rooms have hot tubs, and each of them has a shower.
Ms. P., the manager of the “gold” studio, explained the new work rules introduced due to COVID-19:
“We use disposable sheets. In each room there are hand sanitizers. Customers have to wear masks when entering and while waiting in the lobby,” she said.
Moreover, “gold” brothel clients have to take a shower before sex; the brothel should provide them with clean towels.
To protect brothel workers, the state has introduced new customer service regulations. Although neither clients nor employees are required to wear masks in the room, they are only allowed to use two sex positions, where they don’t face each other directly.
“The room is aired and disinfected after each client,” Mr. N. stressed, recalling that all employees have individual medical records, and they have a medical check-up at Thessaloniki hospital every 15 days.
“All Girls Have Been Tested for Covid-19”
During the quarantine in Greece, all brothels were closed and reopened on 15 June as part of a relaxation of quarantine measures. According to Mr. N., “all the girls have been tested for the coronavirus.”
In the brothels visited by Sputnik, all the sex-workers were self-employed and therefore didn’t get any state compensation during the quarantine period. However, all the receptionists work on labour contracts and receive benefits from the state. According to Mr. N., they gave the money they received “to the girls, so that they have the necessary food and basic necessities.”
Turnover Drop by 50%
According to Mr. N., the workload has significantly reduced due to the coronavirus, by almost 50%. However, sex workers believe that it will be possible to provide good customer service with the new health and epidemiological regulations. At the same time, brothel employees are quick to condemn those sex workers who work on the streets:
“During quarantine, they went outside during the day. Now they go out at night as before, without taking any protection measures,” Mr. N. said.
Sensual music is constantly playing in the waiting lobby. A gentleman is waiting for the girl to lead him to the room. The other two girls are already with their clients. The manager has made sure the room is spotlessly clean, aired, and has sanitizers and face masks.
Everyday life in brothels has changed drastically…
By Fani Xarisi
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