The proposed changes follow a court battle in which a federal judge struck down Detroit's strip-club ordinance where they could open up. The judge ordered the city regulations rewritten.
But the fear in the adult entertainment community here is genuine because lap dances and VIP rooms could be banned with the new ordinance.
Also dancers could be kept six feet away from customers, on stages at least 18 inches high and in rooms at least 600 square feet. And most club employees would have to pass background checks.
More than 100 workers at the city's clubs voiced their opposition Tuesday to the full City Council.
Opponents said possible changes would run them out of business and would elevate the unemployment in Motown.
The clubs say they bring in more than $3 million annually to Detroit in property taxes and fees and employ nearly 6,700 people.
Some religious groups are advocating even tougher rules, including an alcohol ban and a requirement that dancers where opaque pasties.
City Council is expected to come up with a final draft of the ordinance in two weeks.