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Several states in northern Germany are set to lift or ease pandemic restrictions on prostitution, with North Rhine-Westphalia now allowing sex workers to resume their business. The decision comes in the wake of several court cases filed by sex workers, who argued the restrictions unfairly discriminated against them.
The sex workers contrasted the ban on their activities with the lifting weeks ago on gyms and physical fitness studios. The Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia agreed with the argument, ruling it was not clear the risk of infection was much higher during sexual acts between a couple than at private gatherings of up to people.
It overturned the ban on prostitution with the ruling taking effect Tuesday in North Rhine-Westphalia, which banned sex work five months ago. Several courts have followed suit and three other jurisdictions, including the city states of Hamburg and Bremen, will allow brothels to resume business September Sex workers will be required to observe strict rules, including meeting clients only by appointment and maintaining contact lists for public health authorities to be able identify chains of infection.
Hamburg city's social affairs minister, Melanie Leonhard, told broadcasting channel Deutsche Welle that the lifting of restrictions was being coordinated among various city and regional governments, and that only one-to-one encounters would be allowed. Germany has been seeing an uptick in coronavirus infections with nearly 1, confirmed cases being reported Tuesday.
Around , people in Germany have been infected since the start of the pandemic, according to the Robert Koch Institute for disease control. Just over 9, have died in connection with the virus. Sex workers have been lobbying state governments in Germany for months to lift bans. Last week, one of Europe's biggest brothels, Pascha in Cologne, filed for bankruptcy after it had exhausted financial reserves and could no longer pay for its story building or 60 full-time staffers.