SAN Francisco's reputation as a bastion of free-spiritedness has suffered a blow after the city banned public nudity.
The city's board of supervisors made the decision after a series of complaints by residents and businesses over the increase in nudists.
Public nudity was deemed particularly prevalent in the Castro area of the city where many nudists gather daily at the Jane Warner Plaza.
Scott Wiener, a city supervisor who represents the district, supported the ban. He said: "The nudity in the Castro has become extreme. It's no longer an occasionally and quirky part of San Francisco. Rather, in Castro, it's pretty much seven days a week."
A narrow vote of 6-5 saw the ban introduced. Violation of the new rules will result in a $100 (€78) fine with repeat offenders facing $500 fines and up to one year in jail. After the council's decision, nudists protested inside and outside City Hall, stripping naked and holding placards.
Under San Francisco's new rules, some nudity will still be allowed. Babies can go naked and women can still go topless while public nudity will still be allowed at some events, including the gay pride festival. (© Daily Telegraph, London)