Current strip club rules to stay in effect - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Current strip club rules to stay in effect

A federal judge Tuesday blocked a strip club ordinance from going into effect in Memphis at midnight Wednesday.

The ruling was a victory for the seven strip club owners, who joined together in a lawsuit against the ordinance.  Now, the tougher laws cannot go into effect until the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals completes a review of the case.

The new rules are on hold for at least 21 days, but it's unknown when the Court of Appeals will rule to either keep or drop the tougher laws.

County Commissioners argue strip clubs are a health hazard, and that they promote crime. Club owners countered that the tougher laws would shut their businesses down, calling them a violation of the First Amendment.

As the court case goes forward, it is likely the issue will also go back before the Memphis City Council.  Memphis City Council member Myron Lowery said, if enacted, the tougher laws would have an measurable impact on city finances.

"There will be a severe economic impact on our city when these rules take effect," Lowery said. "Beer is not illegal, and I favor the sale of beer in these establishments. We need all the revenue we can get for our city right now."

Commissioners voted to ban beer, require dancers stand six feet from customers, and for all employees to get criminal background checks. Strip club owners argue Memphis already has its own laws on the books, and all they would have to do is call for police to enforce it.

The ordinance was supposed to go into effect at 12:01am Wednesday.

Stay with Action News 5 and for updates on this story.

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