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HEALTH

Swiss brothels outline list of coronavirus-safe sex positions in a bid to end lockdown

The association representing Swiss sex workers hopes the government will approve its plan for ending the industry’s lockdown, including a list of sex positions which minimise the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.

Swiss brothels outline list of coronavirus-safe sex positions in a bid to end lockdown
Swiss sex workers are pushing for an end to the coronavirus lockdown. Photo: REMY GABALDA / AFP

Switzerland’s adult industry has been one of the country’s heaviest hit due to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions. 

The industry’s lockdown reopening plan, prepared by peak body ProKoRe, includes a list of sex positions which minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus. 

As reported in Swiss media outlet Watson, the suggested positions include the ‘doggy style’ and ‘cowgirl/rider’ positions, which the association says minimises the risk of droplet transmission and keeps the distance between faces as large as possible.

READ: Zurich's 'sex boxes' for prostitutes given official thumbs up

In addition, rooms will be ventilated for at least 15 minutes after each customer visit, while sheets will also be washed after each visit. 

Gloves, condoms and disinfectants would also be employed in all adult facilities, while training and information campaigns would be adopted to further reduce the risk of infection. 

The association said visits would be kept to a maximum of 15 minutes and that kissing – which was already rare before the lockdown measures came into place – would be discouraged. 

In order to allow follow up tracing, customer contact data – including names and phone numbers – will be kept on hand for the following four weeks. 

ProKoRe said that if the demands are followed, the lockdown restrictions for sex workers may be lifted when the next round of lockdown measures are eased on June 8th. 

The association also said that the ban should be lifted as a matter of urgency as it was encouraging illegal sex work to take place across the country, which gave rise to security concerns. 

Prostitution in Switzerland

A 2018 report into sex work in the city notes prostitutes are required to pay between 100 to 150 Swiss francs a day to rent a room in a legal brothel from which they can work.

However, there are dozens of apartments listed on Airbnb for less than this amount – some of which are used without consent.

The trend towards the use of private apartments for sex work runs counter to the intention of rule changes in Bern in 2013 which are designed to protect prostitutes from abuse and exploitation.

Read also: Eighty Thai women forced into prostitution in Switzerland

Prostitution is Switzerland with sex workers required to register with local authorities and pay taxes.

But while Bern is currently home to 28 licensed brothels, this number is sinking and there is growing opposition to plans for new establishments.

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TAXES

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here. 

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