Source - Welcome to The Den, one of the first strip clubs in the country to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. To celebrate its grand reopening, the club threw a “masks on, clothes off" party Friday night.
Because Wyoming has had so few coronavirus cases, state health officials on Friday allowed most businesses to reopen, including sit-down restaurants and bars, which is how The Den is licensed. Likely due to its large size and small population, Wyoming has had few coronavirus cases. Officials say they've confirmed just 541 cases, with another 175 listed as probable, and only seven deaths.
“I’m super-excited. I’m a little nervous because the virus is still out there, but I’m glad to be able to go to work, because a lot of people can’t yet,” says dancer Doris Craig, 20, between performances. “The stimulus money was nice, but that’s going to run out, and I don’t like to feel like I’m dependent on the government.” ...
At The Den, hand sanitizer is everywhere, but dancers are also touching patrons and exchanging cash, which can carry the virus. ...
The Den shut down just after Easter, and performers, who are all legally considered independent contractors, went without pay until they began working again Friday night. ...
For their part, the dancers said they missed the money – they can earn more than $1,000 on a good night – but also the sense of camaraderie they share. The Den has about 25 dancers on rotation.
I'm not going to sit here and say that the staff at The Den are the heroes we need to support as we slowly get back to normal. But I'm not not saying it, either.
From the beginning of the pandemic, our response to it has been compared to a war. Well in any war, the front moves. The priorities shift. And with them, the most important jobs shift to other people. When you're establishing a beach head, it's the guys manning the boats and the infantry. Once the area is secure, it's getting the mechanized units ashore. Then it becomes the engineers who can build bridges and such. Then it's about maintaining a supply chain. And so on.
And as our hospitals begin to see fewer and fewer cases and the pressure on them eases, our exotic dance professionals will be our new front line workers. Not for fighting the virus, but for fighting the effects of the virus. The boredom. The crippling sense of isolation. The need for human interaction for the loneliest, most pathetic members of our population.
Like Doris Craig - the woman with the most unlikely stripper name I've ever heard - says, the virus is still out there and she and her 24 co-workers are putting themselves in harm's way. But they're doing it not just for the money or the sense of pride that comes from doing an honest days' work, but they're doing it for their fellow citizens. Those socially awkward sad sacks who've been missing out on female companionship and can only get it through buying a table dance. They are going to be the next wave of 'Rona patients who'll need to be cared for. And these brave young women who are answering the call deserve our respect and our gratitude.
I don't know if wearing a mask helps or hurts. Either in stopping the spread or putting on a better show. I just know that the thought of them being off the public dole and back on the pole brings us one step closer to normal. Thank you, ladies, from a grateful nation.