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Minneapolis considers updating rules for adult entertainment venues

March 14,2017 05:33

The tools Minneapolis officials use to regulate licensed adult entertainment venues may get an update after Minneapolis Health Department staff on Monday presented the results of a recent sweep of downtown venues to a City Council committee ...



The tools Minneapolis officials use to regulate licensed adult entertainment venues may get an update after Minneapolis Health Department staff on Monday presented the results of a recent sweep of downtown venues to a City Council committee.

Inspections of 17 licensed adult entertainment venues last month confirmed the presence of bodily fluids at 11 establishments. Of those, 10 have private or semiprivate VIP spaces, including rooms with love seats or beds where patrons can pay to spend time alone with an entertainer.

Health department officials are concerned about disease risks for employees and patrons, as well as the nature of potential sexual activity happening at these establishments.

"The question that was raised for us: 'What's going on? Why are we seeing these kinds of conditions in these establishments?' " Dan Huff, the city's environmental health director, said at Monday's meeting.

The health department cited state law in declaring the businesses "public health nuisances" last week and is requiring thorough cleaning within 10 days.

The department cannot use the state law to issue citations in these situations, however. And while the city has its own ordinance regulating "high-risk sexual conduct," it's considered outdated and difficult to enforce.

As part of a request for the council to update regulations, Huff said, the health department has worked with Lauren Martin, director of research at the University of Minnesota's Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center. Martin, who has extensively studied sex trafficking in Minnesota, will address Minneapolis' adult entertainment establishments at the committee's next meeting, Huff said.

Committee members who attended the meeting took in Monday's presentation — which included information about how inspections were conducted and interior photographs of the establishments — but did not ask questions or offer comments.

Council Member Cam Gordon, who chairs the committee, suggested taking some time to consider the health department's findings and Martin's upcoming presentation.

"We'll develop a game plan from there," he said.

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