Commonwealth Policy Center

In the mid-’80s the city of San Francisco enacted ordinances to restrict bathhouses to stem the AIDS crisis. It was done in the name of public health and the bathhouses eventually closed. Now, the city recently lifted those restrictions to boost the economy after the COVID pandemic passes. City Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, said “this ordinance will… allow for adult sex venues to be a part of our economic and cultural recovery when it is safe to do so.” This public policy move is filled with irony. As governments across the board are working to protect public health from the transmission of COVID, San Francisco is lowering its guard against the transmission of other diseases easily spread in public places.