AS the country emerges from lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon has given no indication of when it will be safe to resume activity in the escort industry.
It isn’t included in phases one, two, three or four. If questioned on the issue, she’d probably bracket it in phase 105, or thereabouts.
However, although activity in the sector has plummeted in recent months, there’s now a significant upturn, or downturn, depending on your point of view.
Escorts are getting back in business, as online invitations to potential customers show.
And older women are elbowing their way onto the scene.
One website currently has five escorts over 50 who are seeking to comfort lonely men in Inverness after the prolonged lockdown, with the oldest aged 59.
And, refusing to bow to the scourge of ageism, they are pitching their prices as high as their younger colleagues and rivals, at up to £140 an hour.
Why so many women over 50 are now becoming involved in the business – apart from the obvious, perennial appeal of money – is unclear.
A significant number of eastern Europeans are believed to have returned to their home countries at the beginning of the outbreak of the virus, and may not return anytime soon.
Support groups for those involved in the industry have highlighted the severe financial difficulties which have arisen for some of the women involved as a result of the coronavirus.
The vast majority decided it was too risky to continue in the business, and the number of clients has dried up accordingly.
Older women in age groups more vulnerable to the impact of the coronavirus may be taking a bigger risk than others in getting involved.
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant wants the UK to follow the example of Nordic countries and make it a criminal offence to “buy sex”, although some escorts may not actually be offering it.
However, after months of social distancing some, particularly single, men may be eager if not desperate for any form of human contact.
The opportunities to do so at a high financial price are now emerging once again in Inverness.
And in a dilemma that’s not going to go away anytime soon, the new risk is that clients – and escorts – could end up paying a much higher price than they bargained for.