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Keep up to date with the latest news on massage therapy in New York State and on NYSSMMT's continuing efforts to advance our industry!

  • 06/15/2021 2:22 PM | Anonymous

    REOPENING NEW YORK AND MASSAGE THERAPY

    6.15.21 - Today, Gov. Cuomo lifted nearly all business restrictions for covid-19 due to NYS reaching 70% for adults receiving at least one dose of an FDA approved covid-19 vaccine. Given New York’s progress and the diminished risk of COVID-19 within the community, the State lifted most COVID-19 restrictions, except the mask requirement for unvaccinated individuals and in certain settings (e.g., health care) as advised by the CDC. 


    1.27.21 - Today, Gov. Cuomo lifted orange and yellow zone restrictions for most regions.  There are no red zones.  The remaining areas are in a yellow zone: Bronx, Washington Heights, Queens and Newburgh.

    1.4. 21 - Today, Gov. Cuomo has updated  the schedule of vaccine priortizations.  Massage therapists can immediately begin taking the vaccine at their own discretion at no cost.  This is an update from December 14 when massage therapists were scheduled for the end of January.  For the latest in vaccines, for massage therapists as healthcare professionals and to find a vaccine provider in your area,  visit www.ny.gov/vaccine.


    12.14. 20 -  Today. Gov Cuomo updated guidance for spas and massage therapists

    Effective Monday, December 14, massage therapy in any delivery model can continue to operate following the strict compliance to NYS Department of Health guidance. Massage Therapists must be tested weekly for COVID-19.  If your business/employer reopens, a massage therapist can resume after 7 days of receiving a negative COVID-19 test.  Medically necessary massage therapy can continued in essential healthcare operations.  Massage therapists are scheduled to be eligible for the vaccine at the end of January.  For the latest in vaccines, for massage therapists as healthcare professionals, visit www.ny.gov/vaccine.

    11.26.20 -   When a community is in a declared Orange/Red Zone Certain non-essential businesses, for which there is a higher risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, shall reduce in-person workforce by 100%; such businesses include personal care services including but not limited to spas, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail technicians and nail salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, the provision of laser hair removal and electrolysis.  Medically necessary massage therapy can continued is essential healthcare operations.

    9.3.20 - Updated guides on Personal Care services allow resuming services requiring removal of face mask. NY LMTs will need to test negative on or after September 3 to apply any massage therapy on the face.  Click here for complete details from the NYS Department of Health.


    7.8.20 - As previously announced, massage therapy resumed in Phase 3 on Monday, July 6 in New York City as the entire massage therapy profession in the state is fully activated in all business models.  Today,  Gov. Cuomo continues to strongly recommend filtering the indoor ventilation with a HEPA Filter with a MERV 13 rating or higher (other rating options are MERV 11 and 12) especially for malls, schools and office buildings.  


    6.29.20 - Today, Gov. Cuomo announced that New York City, last region to allow massage therapy in Phase 3, is on track to enter Phase 3 for Monday, July 6.  However, there is a possibility for it to be delayed, particularly indoor dining.  Due to spread from other states and New Yorkers' lack of compliance with social distancing, large congregations and local government servicing mild enforcement, Gov. Cuomo will reexamine Phase 3 for NYC and will announce his decision on Wednesday to delay or greenlight Phase 3 on schedule.  In addition, he is recommending all businesses and offices consider installing filters MERV rating capable of filtering COVID-19.


    6.17.20 - Today, Gov. Cuomo announced that Mid-Hudson and Long Island regions is on track to enter Phase 3 to starting June 23 and 24 respectively.    In his pursuit to rebuild New York for the better, Governor signed an executive order providing whistle blower protection for healthcare workers regarding improper patient care and workplace safety.

    6.10.20 - Today, Gov. Cuomo confirmed in his briefing that massage therapy is in Phase 3 and 5 regions will enter Phase 3.  The Governor has stressed following the guidelines, receiving complaints of businesses not following the guidelines and the possibility of losing your license if not following the guidelines.  NYSSMMT recognizes that there are many decisions for a NY LMT  consider whether to reopen or not during the climate of COVID-19, recession and now civil unrest.  NYSSMMT members are reminded to participate in a free laws webinar "Unpacking unemployment" schedule for June 17 at 2 pm.  Click here to register.  Also another free resource to learn the NYS Massage Therapy guidelines is offered by Americas SBDC New York on June 12,  3 pm - 4 pm.  A recording will be available on Saturday for those who cannot attend.  


    6.9.20 - Earlier today, Empire State Development began updating the Reopening Tool kit for Phase 3 listing massage therapy. What has not been announced at the time of this posting is when and which regions can enter Phase 3.  Please daily watch Gov. Cuomo's press briefing and watch the NY Reopening Tool kit.  Be aware that anything is subject to change between today and the upcoming reopening date.  Again, no massage therapy is to be practiced at this time and if your region is not called to enter Phase 3, practicing licensed massage therapy is violating the executive order.  To file a complaint on an NY LMT violating an executive order, click here 

    6.5.20 - Once again the entire NYS massage therapy profession successfully lobbied for the activation of NAICS code 621399 to distinguish massage therapist separately from 821399 - Personal Care.   The profession is still pending an assigned reopening phase.

    6.3.20 - ZOOM Membership Meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 8th @ 1:30 pm for latest development towards a reopening, NAICS update and open action items.

    5.29.20 - From today's Gov. Cuomo briefing, massage therapy remains prohibited to reopen as 5 regions enter Phase 2.  Barbers and Hair Stylists will begin in Phase 2.  Worthy observations is that they will be required to get tested every two weeks and all customer facing workers must keep a log of every customer for contact tracing if a customer  or worker tests positive.

    5.28.20 -  From today's Gov. Cuomo briefing, His slide on businesses and phases was updated. Phase 2 lists only barbers and hair stylists. Personal Care is listed as Phase 3. NYSSMMT will continue to work to get clarity for our profession.

    5.20.20 - NYSSMMT would like to share condolences on the passing of Dr. Kathleen Doyle, Executive Secretary, NYS Office of Professions Massage Therapy Board.  Dr. Doyle has served the massage therapy community in her role for over 30 years.   As NYSSMMT understands, the loss of Dr. Doyle is being felt on the reopening of the massage therapy profession in New York.  There is no update at this time of a new or interim Executive Secretary for Massage Therapy.

    5.14.2020 - NYSSMMT Membership meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 21 at 1 pm.  Membership only.  Become a NYSSMMT member today for only $93 to take advantage of additional support.

    5.11.2020 -  At today's briefing, Governor Cuomo presented in further detail the reopening plan named,"NY Forward" and its handbook available for download.  The state will reopen by a regional format.  After meeting 7 metrics, a region will open in a 4-phase format with the most essential and low-risk infection businesses and professions opening first after having their submitted reopening plan approved.  Businesses will contact their regional leadership to be approved to reopen.     Massage therapists will need to familiarize themselves with their local officials.   Stay tuned to this page for further details.

    4.28.20 - ZOOM MEETING 5.5.20 @ 1 PM  MEMBERS ONLY ...UN-PAUSING NEW YORK RETURN TO WORK .... NYS FORWARD... REIMAGINE TO RELAUNCH

    NYSSMMT leadership is hosting another ZOOM meeting on Tuesday, May  5 at 1 pm to prepare for reopening massage therapy in the state of New York.  This will be an update from the ZOOM membership meeting on 4.21.20.


  • 03/17/2021 2:14 PM | Anonymous

    3.17.21 - Statement of Georgia Shootings of AAPI

    The NYSSMMT leadership’s thoughts and prayers are with Asian-American community as we monitor the investigation of the senseless shootings of Asian-American women, during Women’s History month, at a Georgia establishment.

    NYSSMMT respects that a full investigation must occur for all facts to provide a complete understanding of the incident. Currently, it is being reported by the media that the establishments that the Asian-American victims were working at, during the time of the shootings, are being called "spas" or "massage parlors".   It is also being reported that the investigations are now learning that this is not a racially-motivated incident, but an attempt by the suspected shooter to self-remedy against “sexual addictions”. Again, NYSSMMT is waiting for the complete investigation to understand the entire facts to determine if and what actions are needed to be taken to ensure the well-being of practitioners and patients/consumers.

    Once again, the complexion of massage therapy and spa as health and wellness industries is being blemished through misclassifications stemming from a host of reasons that we all know. Currently, NYSSMMT is already advocating against the classification of "massage parlor" in NAICS, North American Classification Industry System. This system is how the White House, along with Canada and Mexico assess the North American economy. Yesterday's sad incident is another reminder how important it is for the massage therapy and spa professions need to own their respective identities and positions in the health and wellness industries. To learn more how you can participate in this effort to eliminate "massage parlor" from the NAICS system, visit https://nyssmmt.org/NAICS-statement and join NYSSMMT to be a part of the solution.

    In the meantime, NYSSMMT will follow up with the membership and the greater New York state massage therapy community as the unfoldment of facts in the investigation warrants action.

    Thank you.

    NYSSMMT Board of Directors


  • 02/01/2021 2:08 PM | Anonymous

    2.1.2021 - Call to Action continues

    NYSSMMT continues to lead the entire massage therapy profession throughout North America to have "massage parlor" removed from NAICS.   NYSSMMT continues its effort  be in contact with the White House's Office of Management and Budget.  This is the office where the US Census is initiated for the counting of people and businesses.  The office has confirmed that they are 6 months behind on making revisions to the NAICS code and that a second comment period is still forthcoming.  NYSSMMT will continue to update the NY State massage therapy profession and beyond.



    5.21.2020 - Launch as leaders of the Call to Action to remove the identification of  "massage parlor" from the classification system.   Call to Action:  NYSSMMT to call NYS LMTs to request deletion of "massage parlors" from the code 812199 - Personal Care during proposal period for 2022 release

    (5.27.2020 - Our efforts received industry acknowledgement though NYSSMMT was not named in this Massage Magazine article regarding industry leadership during COVID-19)

    Dear NYS Licensed Massage Therapists:

    As our great Empire State begins to reopen,  NYSSMMT answers our Governor's call to REIMAGINE NEW YORK and Build. Back. Better.  The NYSSMMT community really looked forward to this call. We have been at work ever since in how to build back the New York state massage therapy industry better for post-pandemic activity.

    Throughout this pandemic, from applying for COVID-19 relief to the New York State Reopening Tool Kit, some NY LMTs became acquainted with NAICS:   The North American Industry Classification System to learn how our profession is identified.  The Office of Management and Budget of the White House uses this system they developed to guide a U.S. President's vision for the country.  Per their fact sheets, please read the below description.

    "North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is a system for classifying establishments (individual business locations) by type of economic activity in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Its purposes are: (1) to facilitate the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of data relating to establishments, and (2) to promote uniformity and comparability in the presentation and analysis of statistical data describing the North American economy. NAICS is used by Federal statistical agencies that collect or publish data by industry. It is also widely used by State and local agencies, trade associations, private businesses, and other organizations."

    Like you, it was very alarming to discover on the NY Reopening Tool Kit, that our NAICS industry code of 621399 Massage Therapists was initially NOT listed with other health clinicians in the category and a statement of "spa/massage parlors/salons" not being permitted to open at this time being deemed non-essential was certainly heartbreaking to read.  It was heartbreaking because 1) a massage therapist was not recognized as a health professional 2) the business of "massage parlor" as the stand-in with spas and salons was clearly a poor choice by NY Empire State Development and 3) most importantly, our profession is being divided into  additional categories which misrepresents and may undercount the profession in statistical reporting.   Remember what you just read above.  The purpose of the classification system is to describe North American economic activity.

    Like many NY LMTs individually and collectively, NYSSMMT contacted the Governor's Office to request the correct code be activated.  We are proud to say when the entire New York State Massage Therapy profession collectively uses its voice, change DOES happens!  We should all be proud to see that the NY Reopening Tool Kit now lists the NAICS Massage Therapists code 621399.  Separately, the 812199 Personal Care title is listed in replacement of the "spas/massage parlors/salons", however, it still should not appear in a clinician category.

    Though we made a small step in New York, NYSSMMT Board of Directors clearly understands that it is still a small step on a long journey for massage therapy to be solely recognized as a healthcare profession.  Per the NAICS system, the 812199 code is still featuring "massage parlors" as an "illustrative example of a personal care business".   See below image.  That descriptor will continue to affect ALL MASSAGE THERAPISTS FROM CANADA, US and MEXICO.    NYSSMMT believes this needs to be changed and the time is now. 

    We have come to learn that the NAICS System is released every 5 years which makes the 2017 current system in the process of being updated for a 2022 release.  In November 2019,  The Office of Budget and Management has charged the Economic Classification Policy Committee to begin the review and maintenance of the system.   Currently, the window to receive  REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS is now  as we just learned today that the 1st comment period closed 60 days after the initial post on the Federal Register on February 26, 2020.  Fortunately, there will be a second comment period.  NYSSMMT encourages every NY LMT to request the deletion of the word "massage parlor" from the system.  We have provided a form letter for all NY LMTs to customize to their voice and email to econ.naics2022@census.gov.  For more details about the NAICS Update Process,  click here for its 4-page fact sheet to learn of the process timeline on page 1 and the way to submit your request to have "massage parlor" deleted from the system for 2022 on page 4.  There are over 15,000 NY licensed massage therapists in the State of New York.  If there were at least 100 NY LMTS who requested the removal, we can make an INTERNATIONAL difference for current and future massage therapists and the profession.

    We hope that every massage therapist will take a few minutes to either email or mail their deletion request as soon as possible.  Thereafter, please share the movement to the next NY LMT.  We made a difference in New York so let's not stop there.  As you know how the song goes, " if you can make it here, we'll make it anywhere" so it's up to you, New York LMT if you want to make the difference for all massage therapists in North America.

    Excelsior E Pluribus Unum!

    With warm regards,

    -The NYSSMMT Board of Directors


  • 04/23/2020 2:29 PM | Anonymous

    4.23.2020 - UNPACKING COVID-19 RELIEF 

    A fourth federal aid package was passed in Congress and signed by the President.  NYSSMMT will provide updates to this page as soon as we can review the necessary details.  Please check this page later in the week for an update.

    NYSSMMT Board of Directors understands NY LMTs of all phases of employment are concerned about connecting to federal and state sources of sustainability.  This page will be updated to simplify those resources.  NYSSMMT members-only programs will be communicated by email or become a NYSSMMT member today for only $93 to take advantage of additional support. Below is our best attempt to highlight all three recently passed legislation as a fourth relief package is about to be drafted.


    Q: Is it true or false that I can file for unemployment insurance even though I'm 1099 or self employed? UPDATED 3.31.2020

    TRUE.  Yes, In an unprecedented move by Congress, legislation was passed to include 1099/self-employed/sole proprietorship so go file for unemployment in the state you reside to see if you qualify.  Visit these two links:

    https://labor.ny.gov/ui/pdfs/pandemic-unemployment-assistance.pdf

    https://www.labor.ny.gov/pressreleases/2020/march-17-2020-1.shtm


    Q:  Will I need my taxes to apply? Which tax year?

    It's likely that any  COVID-19 relief or support programs are going to require your 2018 or 2019 taxes so make sure you are not delinquent on 2018 taxes.  For some federal programs, there may be advantages in having 2019 taxes completed with direct deposit to timely expedition the relief.  Check with your accountant as your first start to securing any COVID-19 relief since IRS extended the tax deadline to July 15 AND eased many rules, especially on payments in progress.  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus


    Q:  What is the "Paycheck Protection Program"? Is it for sole proprietorship and/or small businesses?

    Under the Small Business Administration (SBA), The Paycheck Protection Program is for sole proprietorships and for small business to keep employees on payroll.  There is protection for small business contractors and debt relief for small businesses.   A great FAQ article from the US Chamber of Commerce is a must read .


    Q:  Is there anything else from the Small Business Administration (SBA) for disrupted small businesses?

    The SBA has various loan programs for small businesses, nonprofits and individuals through its 7(a) loan program.  Programs for loan forgiveness and disaster loans can be researched on this page.


    Q:  What are other relief options should I be aware of?

    Whether you are a business or individual, work with your Accountant and Financial Adviser to understand the pending one-time tax rebate, the rules being relaxed by the IRS on filing, payments and retirement.  Check the IRS page to prepare for your conversation with your Accountant and Financial Advisor,  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus


    For additional information, here is a great COVID-19 Relief FAQ Article by the NY Times


  • 03/20/2020 2:34 PM | Anonymous

    Dear NYSSMMT Members and all NY LMTs,


    Today’s communication is an update from yesterday’s membership video chat meeting. This letter will also address other concerns impacting the membership and the greater New York State Massage Therapy profession in leadership, guidance, treatment, continuing education and financial relief. COVID-19 remains a fluid situation, so please stay abreast with NYSSMMT to receive comprehension on what is applicable to a New York Licensed Massage Therapist.


    GUIDANCE “Who is leading us?”

    This continues to require clarification. First, let us remember our basic training. In the state of New York, massage therapy and its therapists - whether you work in a spa, salon, medical or private setting - massage therapists are licensed healthcare professionals. Licensed healthcare professionals are subject to all healthcare laws of local municipalities, state and federal laws. Your guidance through COVID-19 is primarily from those government agencies, not a massage organization. Starting with the New York State Office of Professions (NYSOP), click here for their page on COVID-19 for licensed healthcare workers. It is the responsibility of every licensed healthcare professional to know the laws.


    “So what is a massage membership good for?"  Since 1927, NYSSMMT is a not-for-profit corporation designated as a 501(c) 6 professional association subject to non-profit and not-for-profit corporation laws. That IRS designation means we advance the massage therapy profession in various ways- primarily supporting the career of our members. We are not unions and we are not social clubs. When health is the main agenda or on the frontline as we are currently experiencing, NYSSMMT brings leadership through one voice to align all stakeholders in massage therapy. Membership in NYSSMMT is vital to ensure understanding of the government compliances to the massage therapist and bring understanding of the needs of massage therapists to the government agencies.


    TO TREAT OR NOT TO TREAT?  “Social distancing vs. needing income?” Update: 3.20.20  4 :00 pm  Non-Essential workers, including NY LMTs to stay home and no in-home treatments

    The Center for Disease Control and government leaders are guiding the nation to practice social distancing. That is not possible for those who are licensed healthcare professionals who are essential at this time.


    All massage associations cannot tell a NY LMT to cease or continue treating patients/clients. That is an individual choice. However, we can give you factual information from the government agencies for you to formulate your decision. At the time of this writing, there is no New York State law preventing ALL LICENSED HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS (and that includes LMTs) to cease treatments. Taken from the website of the New York State Department of Health as of March 18th, it is strongly advised only services and businesses that are essential stay open after 8:00PM:

    • Groceries
    • Gas stations
    • Pharmacies
    • Medical facilities

    Please check your local municipalities if there are new compliances impacting massage therapy from a healthcare standpoint. Speaking with our NYSSMMT members in various medical settings, those who are no longer treating is a direct result of the prioritizing of non-essential healthcare to aid in making more hospital beds available for COVID-19. Others in smaller facilities are still providing treatments. You being a healthcare provider, NYSSMMT will leave you with this one question for your practice… “Is the massage treatment essential to your patient/client?”


    Updates EST

    3.19.20 8:45 am 

    • Governor Cuomo exempts workers in shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions from executive order directing non-essential businesses to implement work-from-home policies effective Friday, March 20.  Businesses that rely on in-office personnel must decrease their in-office workforce by 50 percent. 

    CONTINUING EDUCATION My registration is up for renewal. Updated 5.14.2020

    You still have to do continuing education to renew your registration. Good news is NYSOP has waived the limits for self-study education for those NY LMTs whose registration is scheduled for renewal between March 1, 2020 - September  1, 2020. Continuing education completed 100% self-study will be accepted. NYSSMMT is redesigning its continuing education plan and will release an online schedule in the near future. We have provided free continuing education in the past to our members and we hope to do so in the future.


    FINANCIAL RELIEF

    Every individual and business will be financially impaired. NYSSMMT will be in contact with the government agencies and various massage, spa and wellness associations to gauge the industry needs. There are a few state, national and separate efforts in development to provide financial aid or supporting programs for all citizens and/or massage therapists. NYSSMMT will do its best to streamline the details of these resources for the ease of our members. As we celebrate 93 years of our existence this month, we are extending our current 93rd Anniversary promotion to June 30, 2020 to become an annual Active Practitioner member for only $93. Visit www.nyssmmt.org for further details. 


    Updates EST

    3.18.2020 7:13 pm, Small Business Association Disaster Loans are now available, click here

    3.19.2020 9:15 am, President signs Coronavirus Relief Act into Law

    12:44 pm, NY City Small Business Services:  COVID-19 Assistance and Guidance

    6:36 pm, Facebook Small Business Grants


    The Board and I recognize the overwhelming COVID-19 information coming to you from all sources as you are maintaining your health and livelihood. We will do our best to balance the frequency of communication and content hoping to make a professional impact and provide genuine support.


    Thank you for your attention.


    Serving with open hands,

    Louis A. Mazzella, Ed. M, LMTPresident, The New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists, Inc.


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