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Everett City Council to vote on dress code for bikini baristas

Everett City Council to vote on dress code for bikini baristas

 


An important decision looms for the Everett City Council Wednesday as it prepares to vote on possible changes to the dress code for bikini baristas. The vote follows a federal court ruling finding the old dress code unconstitutional, leading to a settlement of the lawsuit that requires changes to existing regulations.

Under proposed changes, Everett's bikini-clad baristas could soon work in minimal clothing, as long as they meet the city's lewd dress standards.

“Baristas will be able to dress as they can anywhere else in the city, meeting the lewd conduct standard, which is basically a minimal bikini,” Ramsey Ramerman, deputy Everett city attorney, said last week .

baristas coffee stand in bikinis

Showcase Bikini Baristas seen on April 8, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Tere P. via Yelp)

The vote marks the culmination of a long legal battle that began in 2009 when the Everett Police Department received more than 40 reports of indecent exposure and inappropriate conduct at area coffee stands. In 2013, this led to the arrest of two stall owners for prostitution and exploitation of a minor.

In response, the city implemented a dress code in 2017 for “quick service facilities,” encompassing cafes, fast-food restaurants, delis, and more. The 2017 dress code stipulated minimum requirements for tank tops and shorts.

“The original purpose of this legislation was primarily to address the exploitation of the behavior of baristas who were stall owners, who were able to encourage illegal conduct on stalls while exposing themselves to very little personal risk,” Ramerman said at a city council meeting.

The legal battle reached a turning point in 2022 when the U.S. District Court ruled that Everett's dress code was unconstitutional, violating baristas' First Amendment free speech rights.

“As part of the $500,000 lawsuit settlement, the city agreed to amend its quick service ordinance, subjecting baristas to lewd dress standards,” Ramerman said.

If approved, the proposal would require workers to cover “minimal areas of the body” with opaque material. Stall owners would be responsible for ensuring their employees adhere to the dress code, exposing themselves to fines and possible license repercussions in the event of a violation.

The city council vote is scheduled for Wednesday evening, where the fate of the modified dress code will be decided.

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

MORE ON FOX 13 SEATTLE'S BIKINI BARISTA DRESS CODE LEGAL BATTLE

City of Everett reaches $500,000 settlement with former bikini baristas

Federal judge rules in favor of bikini baristas over dresses

Baristas in bikinis say Everett city dress code violates First Amendment rights

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