Sex workers in the Netherlands are scheduled to protest outside parliament next week to denounce the continued closure of brothels, while several restaurants and cafes are scheduled to reopen without permission.

This reaction follows Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s announcement on 23 February. The latter maintains the curfew and the closure of bars, cafes and restaurants to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, he decreed a relaxation for most of the so-called contact professions, with the reopening of hairdressing and massage salons from March 3.

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Prohibited from practicing since December

Sex workers, who have been banned from practicing since the beginning of December, have not been allowed to return to their profession, due “to the specific nature of the work, which involves very close contact and the possibility of virus transmission “.

The sex workers, whose profession has been legal in the Netherlands since 2000, are scheduled to meet on March 2 in front of parliament in The Hague to voice their disagreement.

“Only profession excluded”

“We are going to protest because we are the only contact profession now excluded from the easing of government measures,” said sex worker Moira Mona, one of the protest organizers.

“We have a strict hygiene protocol and we know, perhaps better than anyone, how to prevent the transmission of the virus,” she told AFP.

For their part, at least 65 cafe and restaurant owners have said they will open their terraces on the same date despite a government-imposed closure since mid-October, state broadcaster NOS reported.

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“Crowded” parks

The announcement comes after thousands of people have gathered in parks in recent days to take advantage of mild weather, without always respecting distancing measures.

“Weekend after weekend, we see crowded city parks. It’s weird,” said Johan de Vos, owner of the restaurant business, NOS, who believes that restaurateurs are able to ensure compliance with health rules.

The Royal Federation of Dutch restaurateurs told AFP “understand the decision of some owners of cafes and restaurants”, although unauthorized reopening is not an official policy.