Updated March 22, 2021
New Monday, March 22, 2021
- Capacity restrictions are lifted as of March 19, 2021.
- Face mask and social distancing executive orders are still in effect until further notice.
Boil it down for me. What does this mean?
These changes mean that *most* of the content in the Reopen Guide changes from a requirement to a Best Practice. The exceptions are the cleaning requirements, wearing face masks (therapist and client), and social distancing.
Can you offer couples massage? Best practice is NO. It is still not safe. However, if you can create 6 feet between tables, it is legal. Note: we recommend contacting your insurance provider to ensure you will be covered if offering a service that is currently against best practices (like couples massage).
Can you open your waiting room? Best practice is NO. It is still not safe. However, if you can create 6 feet social distancing between chairs, it is legal.
The latest Reopen Guide can be found here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DECD/Covid_Business_Recovery-Phase-2-1/CTReopens21_Prsnl-Srvcs319.pdf
Rules Still In Effect
1. May I offer face massage, facials, or waxing (if I have the proper licensing for all)?
Yes, you may perform personal services requiring the removal of a customer’s face covering under the following conditions:
- All procedures requiring a customer to remove his/her mask must be performed by a single attendant wearing a mask that completely covers the nose and mouth and a face shield that extends below the chin. Employees who for medical reasons or otherwise cannot wear a source control mask or face shield cannot perform these services. **Technicians may choose not to offer these services if they are uncomfortable with clients not wearing masks.
- Time-limited procedures (e.g. procedures that can be completed in a few minutes like short face massage, beard trimming, limited facial waxing, piercing, etc.) can be performed provided removal of the customer’s mask only occurs for the time necessary to complete the procedureon the parts of the face covered by the mask. For example, if upper lip and eyebrow waxing is to occur, the mask may be removed only for the portion of the service that involves the upper lip and must remain on for the other portions.
- Extended-time procedures (e.g. services that take more than just a few minutes to perform such as facials, make-up services, facial tattooing, electrolysis, etc.) can be performed provided removal of the customer’s mask only occurs during the active time of the service. Customers must wear facial coverings inside the spa until the service begins and must be replaced immediately after the procedure is finished.
These procedures must be performed in a completely separate room with doors closed and are limited to one attendant and one customer per room (one treatment per room).
A 15-minute vacancy period must be provided in between customers to allow for appropriate cleaning, disinfection, and air exchange inside the space.
For Massage Schools:
1. Tables must still remain at least 6 feet apart, so that the distance between each therapist standing at the table is 6 feet in between.
2. Because teaching face massage requires all students on the table removing their masks, and an extended period of time, it is NOT RECOMMENDED that face massage be taught in a group setting.
Face massage may be instructed if the conditions under Rule 3 (above) can be met (one “giver” and one “receiver” per room, door closed, 15 minutes in between students entering the room).
- Can I offer couples massage?
Best practice is no. If the massage therapists and the tables are 6 feet apart you may choose to. If you cannot ensure the above conditions, it is not recommended that you offer couples massage.
- Are there special guidelines I need to follow for in-home or chair massage?
You need to follow the same guidelines that are in the Reopen Connecticut guide. Also, the PPE guidelines for you and the client still need to be followed.
- Do I have to renew my license on schedule? What about my CE requirements?
Executive Order 7DD suspends for 6 months the continuing education requirement for massage therapists. Licensees with expiration dates between April 30, 2020 and October 31, 2020 are not required to complete the continuing education required for license renewal.https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/groups-at-higher-risk.html
In addition, all license renewals, including massage therapy, are suspended until six months after the civil preparedness emergency is declared to be over. Licenses not renewed will not expire during this timeframe.
For the complete text of the Order by the Department of Public Health, click here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Coronavirus/20200330-DPH-order-on-License-Renewals.pdf?la=en
- If I am an employee, but the business in which I work was essential (and did not close). Who completes the Self-Certification?
The employer must complete the Self-Certification, even if their business did not close. The massage reopening guidelines are new to everyone, including them, so they must certify that the business is adhering to the new guidelines.
- As a business owner/self-employed, do I have to do anything special to reopen?
Yes, you have to self-certify, which is your verification that you are following all of the rules in the Reopen Connecticut Guide. You can Self-Certify here: https://business.ct.gov/recovery
- Is DECD going to provide update intake or waiver forms?
No. AMTA has worked with ClinicSense and MassageBook to create updated intake forms that include COVID questions. In addition, as an AMTA member, you receive discounts with these companies.For a waiver, you probably need to work with an attorney. FYI, a waiver is not required by the state.
- Hows and Whens for handwashing, hand sanitizer, putting on and taking off masks and gloves. This is informational….not related to the Reopening Guide.
- What about the coagulopathy issues?
DPH recommends that you check with a medical professional.
- If a client’s spouse is over 65, can a massage therapist still enter the home and perform a massage?
According to DECD, yes. They are not regulating the entire household, only the client.
- Can a client 65 and older, or otherwise considered at risk, book a massage? What if they have a physician’s note?
NEW: YES. DECD says it’s recommended they stay home, but they can get a massage if they want. Up to you as a therapist if you want to work with them.
- The Guide refers to “practitioners” a lot. Does that apply to LMTs?
- What kind of air purifier should I purchase?
That is ultimately up to you. Look for a HEPA filter, consider your room size, and research particulate sizes.
Massage Room Details
- Does each client have to have their own blanket?
FSMTB Guidelines (which are referenced in the CT Reopening Guide) state that linens are considered “massage sheets, face rest covers, pillow cases, bolster covers, hand towels, bath sheets or towels, bath or shower mats, hair wraps, bathrobes, blankets, and any other cloth material used to cover surfaces or cover the client during a massage session.”
“Soiled linens are defined as any cloth material used during a massage session that makes contact with the client’s skin or hair. Any linen that touches a client’s skin or hair must be properly laundered before use with another client.”
Therefore, it would be best practice to have a new, clean blanket with each client.
- Can I put a flat sheet on top of the blanket, creating a kind of duvet cover, that would be changed with each client?
According to DECD and DPH, NO. Sheets are porous fabrics with varying thicknesses. A flat sheet’s effectiveness as an appropriate cover over a blanket could not be guaranteed. Each client needs a new, clean blanket.
- Can I still use a table warmer/fleece?
Yes, IF you cover it with a waterproof barrier. You can use a heavy-duty plastic sheet or table protector. (You may not have your sheet directly on top of a fleece, egg crate, or table warmer.) The same applies to the face cradle.
Note from Becca: I’ve had my table warmer and fleece under my table protector for years, and my clients are still comfortable and warm.
- Do I have to wear gloves and or a gown/apron?
The state does not require either for massage; however, the state does require gloves and gowns/aprons for handling used linens and for cleaning/disinfecting. In addition, FSMTB does recommend wearing gloves for massage, as well as a new, clean apron/gown for each client. The assumption is most gowns do not have a waterproof barrier, so one that is disposable or can be laundered is preferred.
- Why do I have to wear protective glasses or a face shield?
The conjunctiva of the eye is a proven transmission point. While masks are great, some air does escape them, and since we are in such close proximity, we are more at risk of infection via conjunctiva.
- Can I move the client’s mask around so that I can access areas of their face that are closer to the nose and mouth, without actually exposing the nose and mouth? I would want to do this so I can massage more of their face, their sinuses, and even perform facial or skin treatments.
No. DECD says Personal services providers (massage therapists, estheticians, or anyone else for that matter) should not be touching or manipulating a client’s mask for any reason, nor should anyone ask the client to. It is a potential liability issue. The mask wearer is discouraged from touching their own mask too often due to cross-contamination issues.Bottom line, leave the mask and anything under it alone for now.
- If my client does not want to wear a mask while face down, can I create a pillowcase “hammock”?
Yes, with the following:
- It must be something similar to this video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0rPVhKhyZs
- Client must wear mask until they are face down and then remove their mask.
- Client must hold the mask or wear on their head
- Client must immediately replace the mask over their nose and face when they lift their head out of the face cradle, for any reason.
- Must be changed after each client
DPH says, “It would probably be effective, but not sure how practical it is for massage therapists to do it.”