COVID-19 NJ AMTA GR Update
Dear members and friends,
The NJ State Massage and Bodywork Therapy Board convened a virtual meeting on June 30, 2020. Public members were able to attend without comment. Comments for the Board were submitted prior to the meeting and all were considered for reply during the meeting. The following is a brief summary of those discussions:
Replies to Agenda Items:
- In reply to the ability for the licensees to provide in-home therapy, the Deputy Attorney General confirmed that in accordance with **DCA AO 202-19 Sect. 5.k. home visits are not permitted at this time.
NJ AMTA GR investigated further for the reason, and it is because there are no substantial guidelines to assure a safe and sanitary environment for the licensee and the client/patient.
- In reply to how the Board will require proof of CE’s and CPR, the Deputy Attorney General assured that measures are in place for renewal to declare completion of requirements. Currently CPR renewal certification classes are available in person by some providers. The written portion for some CPR certification providers is available on-line. The Board will seek clarification if approved CPR providers allow for on-line skills renewal as well.
- The Deputy Attorney General informed the public that the NJ State Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy does not have the authority to waive renewal fees or extend renewal dates for license renewal. The Division of Consumer Affairs has the authority to consider extending the license renewal date.
- In reply to the concern of “Right to Refuse Treatment,” Board members discussed and agreed that if clients/patients present with untoward symptoms then they are turned away in accordance with **DCA AO 2020-19 Sect. 2.h&i. The Board members reminded the public that licensees are required to conduct two screenings prior to the scheduled appointment in accordance with ** DCA AO 2020-19 Sect. 2.
Public Questions/Comments and Replies:
- Question was asked about air purifiers and their use:
The Deputy Attorney General replied that these are not mandatory and stated that if a place of business or private practice plan to use such a devise, that it should be one that uses a HEPA filter.
- Question was asked about the use of masks, goggles/shields and disposable gowns:
The Board members informed the public that surgical masks are single use and that N95 need to be sanitized; Goggles/shields are not mandatory for LMT’s, disposable gowns although useful, are not mandatory…it is a recommendation as an option.
Please note: On Friday, June 26, 2020, Governor Murphy issued *** Executive Order 157, amending Executive Order 154, allowing licensees of the Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy to perform services that require removal of a client’s face covering as of 6:00 AM on Thursday, July 2, 2020.
Should you provide face massage, please consider using a face shield/goggles for eye protection.
- Question was asked should licensees work with people who have recovered from COVID-19:
Board chairman replied that clients/patients should have medical clearance from their primary healthcare provider before receiving massage and bodywork therapy following any illness, injury or chronic pain, as we usually do and as we are trained to do so.
- Question was asked if we can provide therapy for person who present asymptomatic:
The Board discussion concluded that there is no real answer because we cannot know if a person is asymptomatic at any given moment.
- Question was asked if we can provide Chair Massage offsite:
Board member answered YES as long as all precautions are followed and masks are worn at all times during indoor events.
The Board concluded the public portion of the meeting with a Public Hearing to summarily revoke a license. The licensee opposed and rejected the decision and due to technical difficulties, the hearing was rescheduled.
The next schedule meeting of the NJ Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy is August 25, 2020.
We hope this helps provide you with current information as it relates to the NJ State Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy meeting of June 30, 2020.
In the meantime, your GR Committee needs you help with information about your ability to practice in your community. As we remain active in seeking ways to provide ease of practice in our local communities, we would like to hear from our members who may have experienced, or are currently experiencing difficulty with license and ordinance rules when opening private practices or clinics.
Please reach out to us with you comments, experiences, or questions at GovRel.AMTANJ@gmail.com
These are extraordinary times that require extraordinary patience.
DISCLAIMER: This summary is not to be misconstrued as the NJ State MBT Board minutes of the meeting. Those minutes will be posted when ratified by the Board. This summary is provided by the AMTA-NJ Chapter representatives who attended the meeting.
For your reference, please find these useful links:
A.O. 2020-09 Reopening of Personal Care Services
Executive Order No. 157
AMTA National Website
In response to the may concerns received this past week with regard to the COVID-19 “return-to-work” orders from the Governor’s Office issued on June 13, 2020, please refer to the information below. These orders EO-154 and DCA AO No. 2020-09 are not permanent.
Question #1: CAN I MAKE HOUSE CALLS?
Answer: We are awaiting clarification from the NJ Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy about the conflicting language contained in Execuitve ORder 154 and DCA Administrative Order 2020-09, regarding the ability to provide residential visits. We know that a large segment of licensees have practices that are exclusively based on residential visits. We support the rights of all licensees to work, and seek a more equitable solution for a return to work as permitted by the Governor. We hope to hear from the NJ State MBT Board at their virtual meeting Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 9:00 AM.
To attend the NJ State MBT Board meeting, go to: https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/mbt
To find the agenda, scroll down to left index under “Board Home” and click on “Meetings”
Question #2: CAN I PROVIDE FACE MASSAGE?
Answer: NO… pursuant to DCA Administrative ORder No. 2020-09 #4.a.: No services may be performed that would require the removal of the client’s face covering, except that a client may remove their face covering when face down on a massage table.
We can still provide forehead, scalp massage and ear reflexology.
Question #3: WHAT DOES THE NJ STATE MBT BOARD DO?
Answer: The Board administer the Law and Rules that regulate the license to practice. You can find this defined in: N.J.S.A.45:11-59 Duties, responsibilities of board.
In addition, we have added some useful links that may help as you return to your practice and businesses.
If you have good reason to refuse a return-to-work notice by your employer, please visit NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development page on “Returning to Work Amid COVID-19”
One Jersey Pledge Posters are available for printing and posting in your business as the NJ COVID-19 Information Hub.
Lastly, AMTA-NJ Chapter Board and Government Relations are acutely aware of the reference to the practice of massage therapy by lawmakers as “massage parlors.” We can all agree that this is an offensive label. In that vein, GR is actively seeking to have that label removed and replaced with current and professional terminology.
As always, please reach out to GovRel.AMTANJ@gmail.com should you have questions or concerns.
Best wishes to all of our members and licensees as we return to work and continue providing comfort and a sense of well-being to our clients and patients. Stay safe and sound.
AMTA NJ Government Relations Committee
AMTA NJ Government Relations Update
Consistent with what other states have done, the Governor’s office planned to gradually reopen personal care services beginning on June 22nd. This was not in response to lobbying efforts from any corporate entity, but rather as part of the Governor’s second phase of re-opening, similar to that of our neighboring states.
AMTA has been working for weeks with the Governor’s office to provide recommendations for the safe re-opening of massage and bodywork therapy, and that effort is reflected in the guidance distributed below. In addition, we have added some useful links that may help as you return to your practice and business.
If you have good reason to refuse a return to work notice by your employer, please visit NJ Department of Labor Worker Protections.
One Jersey Pledge Posters are available for printing and posting in your business at New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub
As a reminder, all licensees are required to follow sanitary rules in accordance with N.J.C.A.13:37A-3.2 Infection control precautions. The Governor’s order provides that adding enhanced sanitary protocol is permissible.
Please visit the NJ State MBT website for a copy of the REVISED regulations.
Should you need further clarification, please reach out to GovRe.email@example.com
Best wishes to all of our members and licensees as we return to work and continue providing comfort and a sense of well-being to our clients and patients. Stay safe and sound.
NJ AMTA Government Relations Committee.
COVID-19 Press Information
Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Allowing Personal Care Services to Open
Effective June 22
Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 154, allowing personal care service facilities to reopen to the public on Monday, June 22 at 6:00 AM, provided the facilities comply with standards issued by the Division of Consumer Affairs Department of Health.
“We’re able to confidently announce this important step in our restart and recovery because the health metrics tell us we can,” said Governor Murphy. “With the proper health and safety protocols in place, personal care business owners who are anxious to get back to servicing their customers and communities will have the opportunity to do so.”
Under the Governor’s Executive Order, personal care service facilities include:
- Cosmetology shops;
- Barber shops;
- Beauty salons;
- Hair braiding shops;
- Nail salons;
- Electrology facilities;
- Spas, including day spas and medical spas, at which solely elective and cosmetic medical procedures are preformed;
- Massage parlors;
- Tanning salons; and
- Tattoo parlors.
The Division of Consumer Affairs today issued an Administrative Order that includes comprehensive health and safety standards that personal care services who are licensees of the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling and the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy must abide by.
- Limiting services to appointment-only;
- Performing health screening, including temperature checks, on clients and staff prior to entry to the facility;
- Requiring use of personal protective equipment, and requiring clients to wear face coverings at all times, regardless of the service they are receiving, unless face down on a massage table or where doing so would inhibit an individual’s health;
- Ensuring that all staff-client pairs maintain at least six feet distance between other staff-client pairs, unless separated by physical barriers;
- Adopting enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices; and
- Staying informed about new developments and guidance related to COVID-19.
The Order further directs the Commissioner of the DOH to issue health and safety standards for use by tattoo parlors, tanning salons and other locations in which personal care services are offered by individuals who are not acting within the scope of a license issued by a professional board within the Division of Consumer Affairs.
Nothing in the Order shall prevent the provision of services to a person that is confined to their home and unable to travel due to a disability, if these services 1) are permitted under existing statutes and regulations and 2) are provided in a manner that substantially complies with the standards issued by the Division of Consumer Affairs and DOH. DOH issued an Executive Directive today that includes comprehensive health and safety standards for these locations.
Cosmetology schools or other places that provide instruction and training for personal care services shall remain closed at this time.
For a copy of Executive Order No. 154, please click here.
For a copy of the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Administrative Order, please click here.
For a copy of the Department of Health’s Executive Directive, please click here.
CLARIFICATION ON JUNE 22 REOPENING
Dear members and colleagues,
There is some confusion when qe are to reopen during Phase 2. Please see below and read the Government Relations Report. Sorry for the confusion!
June 22 is the target date for opening, but NOT DEFINITE YET….the plan is to include us, but we still do not have the definite guidelines for MBT. Hopefully this week we will know. In the meantime, please read the annual chapter GR Report:
VIRTUAL ANNUAL CHAPTER MEETING GR REPORT
Needless to say we are navigating a journey that is unprecedented in our times and is a global public health and economic challenge. Your New Jersey Chapter Board of Directors with your Government Relations Committee have been working in cooperation with out lobbyist and our national office, to stay current on changes affecting the practice of Massage Therapy on your behalf, and to provide you with pertinent information.
Our current status, according to our lobbyist Christina Zuk of PPAG is as follows:
COVID-19 Mitigation & Reopening
Following the Governor’s aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic in New Jersey, hospitalization and fatality rates related to COVID have significantly decreased. As a result, the Governor has begun re-opening parts of the economy with restrictions and continued mitigation efforts in place. Throughout this process, AMTANJ & PPAG have been regularly communicating with the Governor’s office with recommendations to ensure the safety of our members and clients/patients as massage and bodywork therapy resumes.
On June 1st, the Governor announced the state’s entrance into the beginning of phase two of his three phase re-opening plan. As part of that phase, personal care services will begin gradually re-opening beginning on June 22nd. As we understand it, massage and bodywork therapy establishments will be included in this stage, and the Governor’s office is in the process of drafting guidance for all establishments opening on that date.
AMTANJ & PPAG have been in communication with the Governor’s office as this guidance is drafted, and have provided thoughts and recommendations on how to best protect our clients and membership in the process.
In addition to our work as it relates to COVID, AMTANJ has identified a number of instances in which municipalities have passed ordinances limiting the ability of massage and bodywork therapists to practice to the fullest extent of their license. PPAG is working with AMTANJ to draft legislation that would prevent municipalities from developing these patchwork policies throughout the state. We are currently seeking sponsors to advance this preemption issue in the current session, while being mindful of our timing given the public health crisis.
AMTANJ & PPAG are also seeking legislation that will give massage therapists the ability to more easily practice in other states – in other words – legislation granting them reciprocity. Again, we are being mindful of our timing given the public health and economic crisis.
In addition to this priority legislation, PPAG has worked with AMTANJ to voice concerns about pending legislation that seeks to further regulate the massage industry. Specifically, we have met with Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle regarding legislation that “regulates employers operating massage and bodywork therapy establishments.” We have offered suggested changes to the legislation on behalf of AMTANJ. We will continue to work to address the issues raised by AMTANJ with both Assemblywoman Huttle and Senator Declan O’Scanlon, the sponsor of the Senate version of this bill.
And last, AMTANJ is seeking legislation that would change the reference to massage and bodywork therapy practices from the outdated term “massage parlor.”
Proof of mandatory practice liability insurance enacted 4/21/2020. Licensees are required to have coverage by a professional liability policy in a minimum amounts of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $3,000,000 aggregate per policy year.
Duty to report any known wrong doing of another licensee or business establishment that provides massage therapy: i.e. unauthorized practice; practicing under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances; violating scope of practice rule; failure to comply with sanitation standards and other violation of Chapter 13.37A.
GR Committee continues to monitor the ever changing COVID-19 mitigation as it relates to practice of Massage and Bodywork Therapy.
Our current status according to our lobbyist, Christina Zuk of Princeton Public Affairs Group (PPAG) is as follows:
“We regularly communicate with the Governor’s office regarding the re-opening of different sectors of the economy,
and at this point in time the focus remains on gradually permitting outdoor activities
where maintaining social distancing is possible.
That said, we have submitted AMTA-NJ’s position for consideration
when the discussion on personal care services begins
and will continue to keep the association appraised of any developments.”
A resource of interest for members who seek real time updates from the Governor’s office, please visit: https://www.state.nj.us/
These daily briefings generally take place at 1:00 PM.
The National AMTA website is an excellent resource for guidelines for reopening post COVID-19.
Please find the information at https://www.amtamassage.org/
During the briefing of Friday, May 15, Governor Murphy announced
that there will be additional funding available for continued financial assistance of NJ Small Business.
We hope this information provides reassurance that Massage and Bodywork Therapy is being closely watched
for changes that affect our ability to practice safely.
Government Relations welcomes your e-mails of concern and opinion regarding “return-to-work” at GovRel.AMTANJ@gmail.com.
Click here for
NJ Workers FAQs on COVID-19 Emergency
Regarding AMTA Insurance Coverage
The policy through HPSO requires that covered AMTA members are appropriately licensed to provide professional services and that they comply with state, federal and facility guidelines relative to scope of practice and practice setting. If there is a government order that mandates non-essential businesses close, and massage therapy is not considered essential in that governmental jurisdiction, then the therapist would be practicing outside of the governmental order, guidance, law or regulation; and coverage would be excluded in the event of a claim. Call HPSO with specific questions about AMTA’s coverage: 1-888-253-1474.