Coronavirus: Berlin court rules BDSM parlours can open as long as everyone wear masks

Berlin's bondage studios and erotic massage parlours can reopen for business, after a court decided that appending them to a blanket closure of brothels to help contain the coronavirus pandemic was discriminatory.

Thursday's ruling came after the owners of a parlour offering intimate massages and a BDSM studio sought an injunction to overturn a city-wide ban on all sex work.

The court agreed that the risk of spreading the virus in a brothel was far higher, and that the applicants' businesses could reopen, provided they adhered to all sanitation rules, including the wearing of masks.

"In [their] case ... there is no especially close contact between the service provider and the client," the court said.

"The service is strictly limited to contact by hand, ensuring greater distancing as a rule."

Brothels were different for other reasons, the court added, including the fact that sex involved a dramatically elevated breathing rate, which increased the risk of spreading infection.

Last month, sex workers in the port of Hamburg demonstrated in protest against rules preventing them from working during the pandemic. The ban was discriminatory since other entertainment businesses had been allowed to reopen, they said. 

Reuters

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