One of Europe's biggest brothels has filed for bankruptcy after being unable to operate for months due to coronavirus restrictions.
German daily Express reported on Thursday that the Pascha brothel in Cologne had used up all of its financial reserves paying for the upkeep of its 10-story building and 60 staff.
Pascha's managing director Armin Lobscheid criticised the authorities' handling the crisis.
"We were put off for a further two weeks every 14 days. We can't plan like that. We might have been able to avert bankruptcy with the help of the banks if we had been promised that things could start again at the beginning of next year," he told Express.
As part of a wide range of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, where Cologne is located, banned prostitution five months ago.
Organisations representing sex workers have warned that the closure of brothels will likely force prostitution underground, where women are at greater risk of exploitation.
"The longer the crisis lasts, the more sex workers work illegally. The ban on occupations must be lifted and sex work must be equated with other body-related services," Susi, a spokeswoman for the German sex workers trade union BesD said in a statement last month.