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Nearly nude vendors may get dress code

Palm Beach County officials are considering a law that would prohibit vendors from "appearing naked" in public, an attempt to stem complaints about streetside vendors wearing skimpy thongs and pasties while selling hot dogs. County Commissioner Carol Roberts said Tuesday the proposed law is compatible with ongoing efforts by county officials to "make our total community look better."

She cited plans to improve landscaping and eliminate unsightly billboards as part of the same strategy.

In addition, Roberts said, the law might help prevent hot dog vendors from developing skin cancer.

April Arnold, owner of Irresistible Wienies, said the county would be in for a fight if a dress code for hot dog vendors is set up.

Arnold said she is enjoying a dramatic increase in business stemming from publicity about one of her employees, Dara Young, who wears pasties and a thong at her stand.

Arnold and Young attended Tuesday's commission meeting, but were not allowed to speak because the issue was not on the agenda. Young wore a dress to the meeting, saying she was worried about being arrested if she came in her work outfit.

Young, who said she sells as many as 100 hot dogs daily and collects tips of up to $5 per customer, also said county officials have failed to take into account the positive aspects of her attire.

"I am providing something in West Palm Beach for tourists," she said.

The proposed law, which is based on a Sarasota County measure, would require vendors to wear a fully opaque covering over their genitals and buttocks.

Women vendors also would be required to cover their breasts from the top of the areola down.