Florida businesses prohibit toplessness

Bottomless behavior not addressed

ORLANDO, Fla. -- In a move that would likely have economic repercussions throughout the state, the Central Florida Tourist Bureau (CFTB) has requested that the state legislature adopt what has become known in Tallahassee as the “No-Shirt-No-Shoes-No-Service” bill.

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The legislation would make it a misdemeanor to patronize a restaurant or bar without "conforming to (1) one's torso being covered with an opaque material from the top of the shoulder area to a position defined as a line drawn around and perpendicular to the medial plane of the torso from the top of the buttocks, and (2) footwear deemed appropriate by weather and safety conditions." Interestingly, the area of "the torso from the top of the buttocks" downward, was not addressed.

The proposal for the bill may have stemmed from a recent incident here at an International Drive fast food restaurant. According to police reports, Charles P. Fernwacker, of Dayton, Ohio, was involved in an altercation with an employee of the restaurant after he refused to put on a shirt. According to Mr. Fernwacker, he was "making a statement about the inherent beauty of the unclothed body."

Fernwacker was refused service whereupon, according to police records, he became belligerent. The police were called, and Fernwacker was taken into custody and charged with violating Florida civil code R22.357.88(H), public display of an oversize girth.

In the past week a rider has been attached to the proposed bill by Charlotte Anestell (D - Pinellas County). That provision extends misdemeanor offense status to wearing a baseball cap "in a location on the wearer's crown in which the shaded protection of the bill of the cap is arranged in a position that is other than above the wearer's proboscis." [In other words, "backwards." -- Ed.]

This amendment to the bill follows on the heels of another incident between a Massachusetts tourist and an employee of Tattoo World in Windermere, just this past month. In that event, William "Backwards Bill" Sneader of Swampscott refused to remove his cap during an American Legion event in Deland hosted by Tattoo World. He was summarily given the "ol' heave ho" from the meeting hall there by the employee.

According to Ms. Donna Reskell, president of the CFTB, the bill has strong support in Tallahassee and is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

Neither Mr. Fernwacker nor Mr. Sneader returned call for requests for interviews.

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