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REOPENING NEW YORK AND MASSAGE THERAPY

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.


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


Check back on this page for general COVID-19 relief information.  Again, Become a NYSSMMT member today for only $93 to take advantage of additional support.

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NOTE:  The below communication was posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  To keep current with developing events, updates will be provided throughout the communication.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020


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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