SEATTLE — The "bikini baristas" in one Washington city might become tank-top baristas following a federal 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.
A spokesperson for Everett issued a statement saying the city is "grateful" for the ruling, adding:
The Court’s opinion recognized the significant issues that the City has faced and the practical reality of regulating these businesses. The court also concluded that the baristas were overall unlikely to succeed in their case against the City going forward.
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 Associated Press contributed to this report