New law forces Kent 'bikini baristas' to cover up

KENT, Wash. -- Baristas who work Mini-Skirt Mondays, Tease Me Tuesdays and Wet T-Shirt Wednesdays had better dress less skimpy on Friday.

A new lewd conduct law takes effect in Kent on Friday, giving police a tool to tackle monthly complaints about scantily clad baristas.

Under the new law, there will be no more pasties or tape only over breasts.

"No more g-string underwear. It's unsanitary to me, so I'm glad," said fully clothed barista Beth Strongstreet, who works at a coffee stand directly across the street from a "bikini barista" stand. "We were pretty excited only because I watch kids go through there every single day. There's children giggling by the window or dads with kids in the back seat. I'm kind of excited that children won't be exposed to it anymore."

Last year, Kent police investigated complaints at Twin Peaks Espresso that led to a prostitution sting in Snohomish county. Kent Police Sgt. Jared Kasner says the new ordinance is about "quality of life," not prostitution.

"You can't correlate prostitution from a bikini," he said. "It was offensive to people and the city council pushed it forward."

Coffee customer Eddie Souvanasoth says the cover-up code seems unfair.

"I think it's kinda messed up to tell them how to do their job, as long as they're not showing anything farther than their thong or whatever. They're not butt-naked or anything," he said.

Strongstreet, who says, "You don't have to shake it to make it," claims in the same time it takes her to earn $100 in tips, bikini baristas across the street earn $400. But she says she'd rather make money wearing a smile, rather than a bikini.