Everett City Council votes to adopt bikini barista dress code changes

The Everett City Council unanimously voted to change the bikini barista dress code. This vote follows a federal court ruling deeming the former dress code unconstitutional, leading to a lawsuit settlement that demands amendments to the existing regulations.

Under the proposed changes, bikini baristas in Everett could soon be working in minimal clothing, as long as it adheres to the city’s Lewd Conduct Dress Requirement standards.

"The baristas will be able to dress just as they can anywhere else in the city meeting the lewd conduct standard, which is basically a minimal bikini," said Ramsey Ramerman, Everett’s deputy city attorney, last week.

bikini baristas coffee stand

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

This vote marks the culmination of a lengthy legal battle that began in 2009 when the Everett Police Department received over 40 reports of indecent exposure and inappropriate conduct at area coffee stands. In 2013, this led to the arrest of two stand owners on charges of prostitution and exploiting a minor.

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

"The original purpose of this legislation was primarily to address the exploitation of conduct of the barista stand owners who were able to encourage illegal conduct at the stands while facing very little personal risk," explained Ramerman during 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 rights of freedom of expression.

"As part of the $500,000 lawsuit settlement, the city agreed to amend its Quick Service Ordinance, making baristas subject to the Lewd Conduct Dress Requirement standards," stated Ramerman.

The approved proposal would require workers to cover "minimum body areas" with opaque material. Stand owners would bear the responsibility of ensuring their employees comply with the dress code, facing fines and potential license repercussions for violations.

"If you wear something you're not supposed to wear to work, I'm going to send you home," bikini barista stand owner Jovanna Edge said of enforcing the code. 

Businesses in violation could be cited or have their license revoked. 

The rule will go into effect in 15 days after it's signed. 


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

Federal judge rules in favor of bikini baristas over dresss

Bikini baristas say Everett’s city dress code violates First Amendment right

To get the best local news, weather and sports in Seattle for free, sign up for the daily FOX 13 Seattle newsletter.