I really hope that is not a silly question but that is something on my mind lately. As I sit home for ten weeks now, I see a lot of talk about how certain industries are changing due to the COVID19 outbreak. Surprisingly enough, some industries are experiencing a surge of work due to COVID19. In the meantime, some industries are not being effected at all, with employees simply transferring their office work home. Obviously though, for a gig that is so dependent on interpersonal interaction as is escorting, being an escort has changed, hopefully not permanently. Yet, as the new cliche goes, nothing is certain in these uncertain times and so I am left wondering what will the future hold. What will this industry look like post COVID19?
Talk about COVID19 began as early as January. It is said to have originated a couple of months earlier in Wuhan, China, but the beginning of 2020 was when it was first seen in the United States. There were already fluctuations in the stock market during that time, which were attributed to the brewing worry about the new type of virus. As I recall, I was visiting Northern CA at that time and a friend asked me then if I was worried about COVID19, the talk of which was effecting the market and causing it to be sluggish, and like most people during early of this year, I shrugged it off and said, "no."
What we know about the virus thus far is that it's a type of severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS-CoV-2 or COVID19, and is to be distinguished from a similar virus originating in 2003, SARS-CoV. Both are caused by the coronavirus, and both effect the respiratory system but with some differences. Generally speaking, SARS-CoV-2 is much less deadly than the original SARS, but it's much more contagious. How one reacts is unpredictable, with the unlucky few showing extreme adverse reactions to it and sometimes, death.
As the year progressed past January, COVID19 was becoming a favorite topic of conversation for the media. Headlines emerged: How to properly wash one's hands. As I was visiting LA in early March, headlines noted how public health officials recommended a six foot distance between the runners of the LA marathon. The event was so packed, the recommendation seemed unlikely. On my way back home second week of March, I boarded a nearly empty plane on my way back from Los Angeles. A week later, just as I was preparing to return to California, the state enacted a shelter-in-place order, and then, other states followed.
I can't speak on behalf of other ladies working but I know for myself, once the state closures began and the travel advisory went into effect, all of my scheduled appointments cancelled. No new inquiries came in. My inbox sat empty for months. I imagine that my scenario is true for many other ladies as well, though I also imagine that others who have enough demand are choosing to work but may be implementing adjustments to their sessions as to mitigate some risk of exposure to COVID19.
Once everything reopens, I imagine that some of the adjustments in sessions that others are implementing may be carried over. To lower the risk during meet-ups, I have heard of the idea to keep one's distance the best that one can and air out the meeting area with ventilation, such as open windows or a fan. It would be interesting if some ladies choose to wear masks during their interaction with their patrons. Since I follow other industries in adult entertainment, I do know that in situations similar to escorting-where women entertain men but in a more public space than is usually the case with escorting-masks and social distancing are required in some of the venues just beginning to open. Depending on the kind of session you offer, this may not be a feasible option for everyone.
To be an escort is contingent on physical touch and physical proximity. So once everything is reopened, I do wonder if many of us will be inclined to shy away from this, in favor of social distancing that has become a part of our life in quarantine. Whether it is the providers or their patrons, who choose to abstain from physical proximity, the habit towards social distancing may take longer to halt than a simple government ok to re-open all establishments. And we have yet to see if there will be another re-surgence of the illness, once the infection rate has been flattened and the ok to reopen is granted. If the infection re-surges, everything may be forced to go in the direction of telecommuting permanently.
As I mentioned in the beginning of my post, COVID19 is creating spikes in business for a few industries. For example, those in media are in no shortage of work assignments. However, I think it's accurate to assume that a lot of businesses and individuals are negatively effected. Business is down to nil for many. Many are out of work. In order to offset some of the negative economic impact of COVID19, the federal government passed the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020, which is a hefty stimulus package to offset some of the economic disruption that has befallen both individuals and businesses. This comes in the form of stimulus checks for individuals netting less than 75k per year. While this stimulus check does not seem like a lot by itself, there is also other help in the form of unemployment benefits available to gig economy, independent contractors and the self-employed-a benefit never before applicable to this group and a group to which many sex workers belong. Additionally, the act includes funding in the form of small business disaster relief loans for those who own a small business and are in need of financial assistance due to coronavirus. Though every individual's financial situation is unique, there is potentially government relief available for those working in The Industry.
In the midst of this pandemic, there has been a spike in online sex work. In-person sex workers now unable to work are the most obvious candidates opting to get on camera. The recently unemployed civilians are also joining in but for different reasons. Whereas in-person sex workers may want to replace their income by becoming a cam-girl during the pandemic, civilians may be trying to replace their income but also their health care and other work benefits. That is, since their health care is contingent on their health care coverage, they may also be working to save in order to help cover any anticipated costs were they to arise. This influx of online sex workers has caused an uptick in competition in the online sphere. If the world ever gets back to normal, it would be interesting to observe whether many recent online workers remain online, or whether they phase out as they return back to work in the real realm, be it sex-work related or civilian.
In light of COVID19 and it's impact, I hope that the effects of COVID19 are temporary. I think it's safe to know that many of us know someone who has been effected in some way, even if we ourselves haven't been. I've been in hiatus for two months. As an introvert, I have no complaints. In some ways, it mimics my everyday life as it is now, only less hectic. Still, I'm looking forward to the rest of the world going back to normal. Freedom of motion is something that I think I miss the most. And I'm certainly not ready to retire, so I hope that I won't have to due to lack of demand arising out of COVID19 fears and less potential clients traveling to my home state and my inability to travel to see them.
What will the world look like post COVID19? It's a question that I've seen repeated in reference to many industries. So I started to think about how it effects The Industry and jot some thoughts down here, but I don't think I still have all the answers. I will try to go about business as usual. I'm guessing many others will as well but some ladies will change their protocol to decrease risk.
As states have begun to open, we have yet to see whether the current impact of the virus is here to stay. Will it force some of us to retire? If not retire, will the economic impact of COVID19 make this business not really worth it anymore? Or will business go back to usual? Are people really dying at the rates reported by the media? These are all the questions I have, and then some. What I hope is that we all stay as healthy as we can. Let us hope that this ends soon enough, so that a great summer can commence.