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Only in San Francisco: City Proposal Would Force Nudists to Cover Up When Sitting Down

"require that people show some basic courtesy and decency toward their fellow citizens when they are naked."

Two men enjoy the weather while in the nude at a parklet in San Francisco. (Photo credit: Michael Macor/The Chronicle)

San Francisco public nudists take note -- and cover: A proposal from the city's board of supervisors could place some new restrictions on the right to bare all.

The legislation, proposed by Supervisor Scott Weiner, would require nudists to place a towel or similar barrier underneath their bottoms when taking a seat in public, and to cover up when inside a restaurant.

Weiner told the San Francisco Chronicle the issue is one of health and sanitation, not about public nudity itself, which is legal in San Francisco.

"What this does do," he said, "is require that people show some basic courtesy and decency toward their fellow citizens when they are naked."

Weiner said the idea for the ordinance, which is expected to pass, came after an increased number of constituent complaints about unsanitary behavior in areas where public nudity is popular.

"One would hope we wouldn't need to legislate this, but people aren't doing it," he said.

According to the Chronicle, despite an uptick in complaints, law enforcement has been almost nonexistent on the issue.

A complainant, he said, must make a citizen's arrest, allowing an officer to charge someone for being a public nuisance. But that's rarely done. Just walking around naked in San Francisco isn't against the law, unless the person is aroused. Then the conduct can be considered lewd, which is illegal.

Until Wiener, the city's elected leaders have largely stayed out of the debate over public nudity, not wanting to run counter to San Francisco's storied reputation as an anything-goes culture where individual rights and freedom of expression are embraced. But some who live and work in the area say they are fed up with the display of rumps and genitals for all to see.

Under Weiner's proposal, a first time offense would result in a $100 fine, a second offense would cost $200, and a third offense would elevate the crime from an infraction to a misdemeanor and lead to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Weiner said his office has not yet received any complaints from local nudist groups about the proposal.

One last thing…
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