Your Government Relations team would like to update our members regarding developments in the COVID-19 crisis in NY. Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.68 outlining a new plan to address increasing infection rates in NYS. Instead of “Phases”, the Governor will be issuing restrictions based on Zones (Red- Cluster Itself, Orange-Warning Zone, and Yellow-Precautionary Zone). You can find out if you are in an affected area here: https://covidhotspotlookup.health.ny.gov/#/home.
If a region enters an Orange Zone, certain non-essential businesses “shall reduce in-person workforce by 100%.” This includes personal care services and specifically lists “spas”. Please note that essential businesses are allowed to remain open even while in a Red Zone. Empire State Development has updated the guidance on the definition of essential services. It now includes language stating “medically necessary massage” is essential. This would indicate that massage services that are not medically necessary would not be considered essential. Find the detailed lists and wording here: Cluster Action Initiative Guidance. Please read thoroughly!
All care provided should be medically necessary if your business is located in the orange and red zones while elective care should be deferred. Medically necessary massage therapy for workers functioning in essential business capacities may also be considered essential. Please use your best clinical judgment and decision making in regard to what care is medically necessary.
AMTA-NY and your Chapter Lobbyist are encouraged that our lobbying efforts have resulted in this update. We will continue to advocate for massage therapists to be treated as healthcare professionals as granted in our Title VIII licensure. While you may still have questions, please rest assured that your Government Relations team will continue to update you as any additional information becomes available.