AMTA Is Committed to Keeping You Informed on COVID-19
The health of our AMTA community is our absolute top priority. In light of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, we’re committed to closely following updates and keeping everyone’s health top of mind. We’ll be updating this news page regularly to share the latest information.
Financial Relief Resources
March 27, 2020 – 1pm
AMTA’s Government Relations team has been reaching out to federal, state and local governments about the need for financial assistance for all massage therapists. We will be updating the Financial Relief Resources page with these efforts, along with additional resources to help you navigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
March 23, 2020 – 5pm
Effective immediately AMTA will no longer cancel memberships for non-payment through at least May 31, 2020. We ask those members that are still able to pay their membership dues to consider doing so, as this will enable AMTA to broaden this effort for those that are less fortunate during this crisis. AMTA is a community and you are AMTA. This is just one way we rally behind each other.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) provide the latest recommendations for Coronavirus (COVID-19). AMTA advises that you check these resources regularly for important updates.
State Health Department COVID-19 Pages
As the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the US, health departments have created state landing pages where you can go to get the latest information about the virus in your area. We also include state-based updates and mandates on closures, restrictions, and guidelines related to the massage therapy profession.
MBLEx and National Certification Exam Updates
March 20, 2020 – 9am
The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)
The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards has closed all locations for MBLEx testing and will not increase exam fees as previously announced.
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)
The National Certification Board has announced that all US and Canadian testing locations for the Board Certification exam are closed from March 18 through April 15. Click here for FAQs from the testing center, Prometric.
March 19, 2020 – 11am
Please read the letter below in which we are asking all massage therapists, along with our industry and organizational partners, to take a moment and contact your individual U.S. representative and U.S. senators to express support for economic relief and aid for the massage therapy profession and small businesses, schools and independent contractors across the United States.
Dear AMTA Family,
The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us, including the massage industry. By now, many of you are facing a new reality that immediately affects your employment, education, and businesses. State and federal guidelines regarding closures and definitions of social distancing have been changing by the hour, and AMTA is committed to bringing you the most up-to-date information, guidance and advocating on your behalf.
AMTA is working with state and federal government/agencies to help, where we can, to minimize the short and long-term impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all in this together, so we are asking all massage therapists, along with our industry and organizational partners, to take a moment and contact your individual U.S. representative and U.S. senators to express support for economic relief and aid for the massage therapy profession and small businesses, schools and independent contractors across the United States.
Federal legislation has passed, and other legislation has been proposed and is being considered which would provide varying forms of relief and aid for self-employed/independent contractors and small businesses. We understand the hardships you, your families and your practices are experiencing as a result of COVID-19 and are striving to have the full massage therapy industry recognized in any possible legislative solutions.
Please join the industry in advocating for all massage therapists and our schools during these uncertain times and take action through clicking on the button below and submitting the following letter to your members of Congress.
Thank you for your support of massage therapy. Stay safe, stay healthy!
March 19, 2020 – 11am
Please check our Financial Relief Resources page for detailed information to help you navigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Unemployment Benefits and the Coronavirus
The federal government is allowing states to change their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Each state’s rules may be different. Contact your state’s unemployment insurance program to learn about and apply for unemployment insurance.
Coronavirus Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
Updated April 1, 2020
The AMTA Government Relations Team has been reaching out to federal, state and local governments regarding clarification on laws, executive orders, and regulations that impact massage therapists during the COVID-19 crisis. We are also working to help champion continuing education and license renewal changes for all massage therapists. We will continue to update this section with any state-based changes to licensure and CE requirements.
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues, many State Health Departments have created COVID-19 information pages and those are included below, along with state-based mandates on closures, restrictions, and guidelines related to the massage therapy profession.
March 27, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all massage-therapy establishments and massage services, athletic facilities, fitness centers, gyms, spas and yoga facilities to be closed effective at 5:00 p.m. on March 28.
March 16, 2020 – The state regulatory board urges MTs to include CDC guidelines when making decisions about client care and how, when, where, and if they choose to practice.
March 24, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all massage therapy locations, day spas, Rolfing, Reiki, acupuncture, acupressure and similar services closed.
March 23, 2020 – State Board of Massage Therapy follows Arizona Department of Health Services guidelines, suspends CE requirements and payments.
March 31, 2020 – The Governor has issued a stay at home order that also states all non-essential businesses must be closed.
- Flagstaff – The Mayor has ordered all gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios and similar facilities to be closed.
March 24, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all massage therapy establishments closed by March 25 and the Arkansas Department of Health has stated that all 18 hours of required continuing education (CE) can be obtained through online courses and that license renewals can be deferred for 90 days past expiration without late fee penalties after the conclusion of the public health emergency.
March 19, 2020 -The Governor has issued a shelter in place order for most businesses in the state and has ordered all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence.
March 10, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all fitness centers and gyms to close.
Effective on March 23, 2020, 8pm – The Governor has issued a stay at home order and is directing all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities to prohibit all in-person functions.
April 1, 2020 – The Department of Public Health has suspended massage therapy license renewals until six months after the civil preparedness emergency is declared to be over.
March 30, 2020 – The Florida Board of Massage Therapy will permit certain required hours of massage school education to be taught through distance learning.
April 1, 2020 – The Governor has issued a “safer at home” order for people in high risk groups and encouraged social distancing.
March 20, 2020 – The Governor issued a stay at home order for the entire state through at least April 7, and ordered the closing of all non-essential businesses.
April 1, 2020 – The Governor has extended the stay-at-home order to at least April 30.
March 17, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all fitness centers, health clubs, health spas and gyms to close.
March 27, 2020 – Following the order of the Governor, the Bureau of Professional Licensure has stated that all massage therapy establishments are to be closed.
March 31, 2020 – The state massage therapy board has clarified the implications for massage therapists of the Governor’s order to close massage therapy establishments.
March 25, 2020 – The Governor has ordered health spas, health clubs, fitness centers and gyms to be closed.
March 30, 2020 – The Governor has issued a stay-at-home order and directed non-essential businesses to close.
March 20, 2020 – The Governor has ordered gyms, fitness centers, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, and spas to be closed until March 30.
March 31, 2020 – The Governor has issued a stay home, stay safe order that “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single household are temporarily prohibited.”
March 18, 2020 – The Governor has ordered fitness centers, exercise studios, gyms, athletic clubs, spas, salons and businesses offering massage therapy or similar bodywork to close.
March 26, 2020 – The Mississippi State Department of Health has advised all non-essential healthcare providers to postpone appointments for a later date. The Mississippi State Board of Massage Therapy has extended license renewals due to expire May 31, 2020 to August 27, 2020 with no late fee after May 31.
March 31, 2020 – At this time, there is not a statewide mandate on closings, essential versus non-essential services or a stay-at-home order. The following cities/counties have issued restrictions that may affect massage therapists:
- St. Louis – The Mayor has issued a stay-at-home order and the health commissioner has ordered massage locations, gyms and fitness centers to be closed.
- Kansas City – The Mayor has issued a stay-at-home order and the city has provided FAQs on what the order covers.
March 16, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all gyms to close.
March 22, 2020 – The Governor has directed all residents to stay at home until further notice, and has directed the closure of all non-essential businesses.
March 18, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all resort spas, health clubs and athletic facilities to close.
March 30, 2020 – The New Mexico Higher Education Department has granted an emergency waiver to all state-authorized, private post-secondary educational institutions to offer distance education.
March 16, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all gyms, spas and salons to close.
March 22, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all residents to stay at home and all non-essential businesses statewide to close.
March 16, 2020 – The state regulatory board has notified massage therapists that it will allow all CE classes to be taken online through December 2020.
March 24, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all gyms, yoga studios and massage locations to close.
March 30, 2020 – Effective at 12:00 a.m., Saturday March 28, the Governor ordered all elective personal care services, including massage facilities and individual massage therapists to close and cease operations. The Governor’s order is to continue through Monday, April 6, 2020.
March 17, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all health clubs, fitness centers, workout facilities, gyms and yoga studios to close.
March 19, 2020 – The Ohio Department of Health has ordered the closure of all massage therapy locations.
March 23, 2020 – The Governor has issued a stay at home order for all but specific, essential activities.
March 25, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all non-essential businesses to be closed. The Governor has also ordered that all occupational licenses (which includes massage therapy licenses) that expire during the emergency order are extended until 14 days after the end of his order.
March 23, 2020 – The Governor has approved suspending restrictions on distance-learning continuing-education requirements for massage therapists.
April 2, 2020 – The Governor updated a previous stay-at-home order to apply to the whole state.
March 27, 2020 – The South Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy will allow all approved licensed massage schools to offer pre-licensure course work online in lieu of meeting face-to-face in the classroom as required by statutory provision.
April 1, 2020 – The Governor has ordered all massage therapy establishments, massage services, fitness centers, yoga studios, gyms and spas to be closed.
March 19, 2020 – The Governor has extended the expiration dates of massage therapy & other health licenses for 3 months.
March 23, 2020 – The Governor has ordered gyms, fitness/exercise centers or “substantially similar facilities” to temporarily close and suspend in-person services until April 6, 2020.
March 30, 2020 – The Governor has clarified his previous order to include massage therapy establishments and massage services be closed.
March 20, 2020 – The state regulatory board will allow current licensed schools to offer distance education, but they will not satisfy requirements of hands-on curriculum.
March 21, 2020 – The Governor has also ordered gyms, spas and massage therapy locations to close from March 20 – April 3.
March 25, 2020 – The Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation has waived continuing education requirements for all licenses expiring in March, April and May 2020.
April 1, 2020 – The Governor has renewed and expanded his previous order through April 30, 2020 including the closing of massage establishments and gyms.
March 23, 2020 – The Governor orders closure of all but essential places of business.
March 23, 2020 – The Governor has ordered fitness centers to limit capacity to 10 patrons or close.
March 30, 2020 – The Governor has ordered fitness centers, gyms and massage locations to be closed and issued a stay-at-home order.
March 16, 2020 – The Governor has provided guidelines for massage practice in the state. The Governor has also ordered gyms and spas to close until March 31.
March 23, 2020 – The Governor issued a “stay home, stay safe” order and specified essential businesses.
April 1, 2020 – The Governor updated the state “stay home, stay safe” order.
An Important Message From Your AMTA Board of Directors
March 17, 2020 – 4:30pm
These are certainly challenging and unprecedented times we’re facing, with many unknowns ahead. Every day the CDC and public health officials recommend or impose stricter guidance to lessen the spread of COVID-19. We are closely tracking the rapidly evolving guidelines with the aim of keeping our members up-to-date, and we recognize how unsettling this situation is for all of you.
Extreme measures have been taken across many countries, states, communities, businesses and professions to create social distancing in an effort to flatten the curve of infection.
Yesterday afternoon federal health officials announced a new initiative, 15 Days to Slow the Spread. The stated goal of this plan is to “get ahead” of the virus spreading and “flatten the curve” so hospital systems’ capacities are able to handle the expected number of infected individuals. The common thread is to create greater “social distance” between as many people as possible, regardless of current health status.
What do we all need to know?
- COVID-19 can spread from person-to-person and from various surfaces and objects to a person.
- The time between exposure and symptoms ranges from 2-14 days.
- The virus is contagious prior to symptoms presenting.
- The virus is spreading easily and sustainably in many communities in the U.S. and abroad.
Where do you fit as a massage therapist?
Unfortunately, how massage therapists fit in the ever-changing guidance is not always clear. Taking into account what is known about COVID-19 and the massive efforts and sacrifices being made by millions of people across the country to protect themselves, their families, their neighbors and strangers, we ask that every massage therapist evaluate their practice of massage and how it fits into these efforts and any direction given by national, state or local health officials.
AMTA does not have the authority to stop you from practicing massage, but firmly believes massage therapists should be part of the solution and do no harm. At this time, we believe the best way that therapists can contribute to the solution is by only practicing massage that is medically necessary and by supporting the recent federal guidelines as outlined in the 15 Days to Slow the Spread initiative thru at least March 31.
What makes our profession so amazing is its diversity. It is that same diversity that is making these decisions so difficult for therapists across the country. For those who choose to practice, please stay current with the constantly changing information from CDC, WHO and your local health officials.
Please know that we understand how difficult this decision is and the financial impact this may have on you. With that in mind, AMTA’s Government Relations Team is working to help champion unemployment benefits and Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance for massage therapists, and we’ll keep you abreast of those efforts in the days and weeks ahead.
Your health and the health of our community is our top priority. We’re here for you, and we will get through this tough time together. We are dedicated to updating you daily on this ever-changing situation and will continue to keep you informed on developments related to massage and COVID-19.
AMTA Events Update
April 1, 2020 – 9:30am
During these challenging times, AMTA is working to keep everyone in the profession updated on the current information surrounding COVID-19. The health and wellness of our AMTA community is our top priority.
Based on the latest guidance from the CDC and other federal health officials we have decided to cancel all AMTA face-to-face meetings, classes, and gatherings through June 8. We realize that AMTA national and chapter events are opportunities for our members to gather together and take continuing education or receive community support. However, to ensure the safety of our members, we have decided to cancel these in-person events.
AMTA’s Board of Directors has now approved amendments to bylaws and policy through emergency provisions set forth in Delaware Law. These temporary changes allow AMTA chapters to conduct their annual spring meetings online instead of in-person. Chapter elections may also be conducted in this manner (if applicable).
Additional details will be sent as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please contact your local chapter or you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMTA is proactively monitoring the ever-changing landscape surrounding the COVID-19 crisis. As the situation unfolds, we will let you know if there are any changes to the status of our National Convention or future chapter events.
And, we will keep our AMTA community updated with the latest news and resources to help you through this uncertain time. We are all in this together.
Focus on Your Health and Safety
March 4, 2020 – 3:00pm
The health and wellness of our members and the clients you serve are the highest priority for AMTA. We know that many of our members, and others in the massage therapy profession, have concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and what precautions they need to take. The cold and flu season is also a good reminder that massage therapists should make sure they are practicing proper sanitation, hygiene and standard precautions at all times in their massage locations. Precautions protect both you and your clients.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention provides the latest information about the Coronavirus and prevention. An important first step is to check for regular updates on the CDC website.
For your personal protection, the CDC recommends that everyone follow these simple approaches to self-care:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. (It is a contraindication for you to provide massage is if a client has symptoms of a cold or the flu. This may be a good opportunity to look at your appointment cancellation policy.)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using an appropriate cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
Stay safe and healthy.