Bikini baristas may become tank-top baristas after ruling

SEATTLE (AP) — The "bikini baristas" in one Washington city might become tank-top baristas following a U.S. appeals court ruling.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday overturned a lower court judge's decision to block the city of Everett from imposing a dress-code on the scantily clad coffee servers.

The three-judge appeals panel said wearing skimpy attire, sometimes just pasties and a G-string, to sell espresso at drive-through coffee stands does not constitute free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Seven baristas and the owner of a chain of the coffee stands called "Hillbilly Hotties" sued in 2017 to block the dress code, and U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle agreed with them.

The panel overturned Pechman's order. Hillbilly Hotties owner Jovanna Edge said she will appeal.

The city wants to require such workers to at minimum dress in tank tops and shorts.

Everett and Snohomish County, north of Seattle, have had a troubled history with other stands, which in some cases have operated as drive-thru strip clubs or brothels.

A former Snohomish County sheriff's sergeant pleaded guilty to helping launder money from a prostitution operation run out of some roadside stands and was sentenced to one year in jail.