Los Angeles County supervisors, alarmed at the persistent spread of AIDS, today approved new health regulations aimed at closing the doors of a dozen local bathhouses.
The supervisors, in a 4-0 vote, asked county Health Services Director Robert C. Gates to adopt guidelines that will enable his department to shut down bathhouses or other commercial establishments if they allow high-risk sexual activity to take place.
Those "restrictive activities" include anal or vaginal intercourse or oral copulation. And Gates said enforcement of the new regulations, which also includes restrictions on private rooms at bathhouses, will go into effect immediately with the possible use of undercover officers and health inspectors.
Despite protests by bathhouse patrons opposing the regulations, Supervisor Mike Antonovich said a crackdown is needed on the bathhouses, which he called "a breeding ground for AIDS." All 12 bathhouses in the county are located in the city of Los Angeles.