Full disclosure; I am on a slight rant here, but stay with me.
While bars, gyms and hair salons are included in widened reopening following the coronavirus lockdown, the question on my mind is — when can I return to work? You may not know this, but massage, skin care (aestheticians), waxing and nail salons are not included in the re-opening celebration. Neither massage therapy nor aesthetics are even listed as professions included in a “phased” re-opening.
One simple reason massage is ignored is because it is not a profession licensed by the state of California. No matter that we in these disciplines have put in hundreds of hours schooling and passed tests required by CAMTC (California Massage Therapy Council); it isn’t uncommon for us to be lumped in with businesses of ill-repute (like sex workers) by the public, cities, and counties. In 2008, the state passed the Massage Therapy Act that went into effect 2009. It was a start. Still, however, no license is issued. Only a certification. How does that affect the industry? It makes it a free-for-all for us, as each city and county can pass their own rules and regulations. You can find more information about CAMTC here: https://www.camtc.org/california-massage-law/
By April 5th we were told we were non-essential, meaning that if we were caught working, and we would have our certifications revoked and face fines and/or jail time. Yet on May 8th, employees of physicians and chiropractors were permitted to work. For many people, massage and skin care are both truly health care regimens, yet we were excluded.
On May 28th, the governor released cosmetologists and barbers to return to work with new safety precautions spelled out. The BBC (Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists) also oversees estheticians who were told that they would be permitted to wax below the neck. But even that was reversed a few days later. On that same day, the CAMTC stated that massage therapists could return to work following the guidelines from BBC. As expected, social media began broadcasting the news at a fever pitch. At the same time, however, we were receiving information from our liability insurance informing us that if we chose to return to work our policies would not be valid. Sound confusing? Hang on. It gets better.
The very next day we all received an email from CAMTC that said no — we could not return to work. It turns out CAMTC was communicating with the wrong department.
As for me? I had thought all those months that skin care and waxing would start at the same time as hair salons began seeing their clients. But that was then and this is now. With the recent lack of social distancing and people refusing to wear masks in public at all times, I’m concerned about an uptick in COVID cases. According to news sources, it is already happening, even here in California. For that reason, I will remain optimistic about returning by July, when I feel better about both your safety as well as my own.
As for the crazy ride I just took you on, take heart. There are therapists across the state (including me) who have been active with regard to legislature involving the CAMTC. We are working to find clear answers. In the meantime, if your skin care products are getting low or you would like to start trying something different, let me know. We can discuss your options by phone and I’ll do a porch pick drop off.
Hope to see you soon!