Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 10, 2020 / 16:00 pm
As public Masses remain suspended in New York City, per public health orders, the city health department has issued advice to residents on how to have “safe sex” with strangers during the coronavirus pandemic.
While the city remains in the first phase of the state’s reopening plan, Catholic churches in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, are open only for private prayer and the sacrament of confession. In the first stage of New York state reopening regulations, religious gatherings are limited to 10 people who must wear masks and observe strict social distancing.
But while public gatherings in churches are considered a health risk, the city simultaneously is advising residents on how to have “safe sex”—even in a crowd.
Guidance from the New York City health department, issued June 8, states that “during this extended public health emergency, people will and should have sex,” and offers a range of advice on limiting transmission of coronavirus while engaging in “hook ups” and group encounters.
While the guidance advises that the safest sexual partners are “someone you live with,” and people should interact with “only a small circle of people,” the guidance offers precautions for those who “decide to find a crowd,” including that they pick “larger, more open, and well-ventilated spaces” for their encounters.
The city’s health department also recommends for and against specific sexual acts, in light of their probability of passing the virus, and suggests that people “be creative” and use “physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact” as a health precaution.
City authorities have come under scrutiny for applying different priorities and standards to the regulation of people gathering following the outbreak of COVID-19.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that ongoing protests in the merit exceptions to coronavirus regulations, while religious services do not.