REOPENING NEW YORK AND MASSAGE THERAPY
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.
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:
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.
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:
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?”
3.19.20 8:45 am
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.
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.
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
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.