Preparing Your Return to Work and Practices
Here we will post links and other helpful information as it becomes available to assist our Maine Massage Therapists and Members prepare for a safe return to work.
Maine Massage Update
- On March 5, Governor Mills issued an executive order with amended indoor capacity limits. Massage therapy businesses may operate at 50% of permitted occupancy, 5 people per 1,000 sq. ft., or 50 people (whichever is greatest), until May 23. Starting May 24, permitted occupancy increases to 75% (see section A, page 2).
- Massage therapists should continue to follow guidelines for spas and close contact personal services (updated in March).
- For additional information and updates, we encourage you to visit the Maine COVID-19 page. And, to view the history of updates related to massage and COVID-19 in your state, you can visit AMTA’s page.
UPDATE on Vaccine: (See Covid-19 Maine resources page as well)
Please write to us with your stories, thoughts, and experiences about your return to work, how you continue to practice safely.
If you have chosen to delay your return to work or have a limited practice, please share your thoughts.
Please consider volunteering on one of our committees, assisting us with online meet and greets for networking and discussion, or future event and education planning.
From the Maine State Governor and Maine OPOR License offices:
The Governor has ordered that any business now authorized to be open shall comply with the General COVID-19 Prevention Checklist and other State of Maine guidance in response to the serious health and safety risks of the highly contagious COVID-19. As a licensee of the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation (OPOR), it is your responsibility to be aware of these COVID-19 safety measures and applicable compliance requirements.
OPOR licensing entities may impose discipline on licensees found to have violated COVID-19 safety measures. When OPOR receives a complaint of noncompliance with COVID-19 safety measures through the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) portal, an informal educational letter is sent to the licensee. If OPOR receives acomplaint through its complaint intake form, or if OPOR receives additional allegations of noncompliance through the DECD portal after the informal educational letter is sent, the formal complaint process is triggered, and the licensee may be subject to discipline.
Please be aware that in general, and subject to a few exceptions, you must:
- Wear a face covering at all times in public settings. A public setting is broadly defined and includes all indoor spaces open to the public and most outdoor spaces, even where physical distancing is possible.
- Maintain physical distancing
- Practice proper hand hygiene; and
- Post readily visible signs notifying customers of the requirement to wear cloth face coverings.
We encourage you to pay special attention to the following COVID-19 safety protocols:
- Executive Order 16 FY 20/21 Order To Revise Indoor Gathering Limits, Strengthen Face Covering Requirements And Delegate Certain Authority
- General COVID-19 Prevention Checklist
The State’s response to COVID-19 is evolving as more information becomes available. We recommend that you stay up to date by accessing the resources available at https://www.maine.gov/covid19/. This site includes links to the Governor’s Executive Orders, DECD checklists, and other resources that may be helpful to you professionally or personally.
If you have questions, we encourage you to contact your board’s administrator. Thank you for your efforts to keep your community, your clients and yourself safe and healthy.
 Effective November 4, 2020, 16 FY 20/21: (1) states face covering requirements, including those set forth in Executive Orders 49 FY 19/20, 2 FY 20/21, and 14 FY 20/21, apply in public settings regardless of the ability to maintain physical distance and (2) repeals contrary language in Section V of Executive Order 49 FY 19/20.
ARCHIVE of Updates:
June 12, 2020 FROM AMTA NATIONAL:
The Governor’s Restarting Plan is available at this link https://www.maine.gov/covid19/restartingmaine
Pursuant to the Governor’s Restarting Plan, and subject to the DHHS COVID-19 Guidance for Health Care Providers https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus-resources.shtml, health care related massage therapy services may now be provided by an LMT. All other types of massage must wait until Stage 3, expected to July 1, depending on health metrics.
Maine’s massage therapy licensing program does not differentiate between medical or health care massage and other types of massage, so we do not certify or otherwise give permission to do a certain type of massage. According to the Department of Economic and Community Development, for the purposes of Stage 1 opening, “LMTs may practice if their client has been referred by a medical professional and the services that the client requires are for a medically necessary condition where the medical need out ways the risk of contact.”
Massage therapists contemplating opening to provide health care/medical massage must comply with the DHHS Guidance for Health Care Professionals available at this link https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus-resources.shtml. LMTs must use their professional judgment to determine if they can comply with the DHHS Guidance, including US CDC Infection Control Guidance.
If, after reading the DHHS guidance, you believe that you can safely practice, you may do so to provide health care related massage. Reopening is optional and subject to your adoption of safety recommendations in the DHHS Guidance.
In anticipation of the Stage 3 Opening, DECD has posted a checklist for Massage Facilities available at this link https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists. Please be sure to read and follow both the General Checklist and the Massage Facility checklist. They both contain important information to ensure the health and safety of you and your clients.
In addition, we recommend that you refer to the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards Guidelines https://www.fsmtb.org/media/2319/fsmtb20200519guidelinesforpracticecovid-19.pdf
We know this has been a difficult time for you, and for many of our licensees, friends and families. We wish you the best in your reopening preparations. AMTA National Office
Another interesting link and guidelines shared by our members on FOOD SAFETY at home.
As our health and wellbeing depends on how we package, store, and maintain food at home, we thought this might be of interest, dispelling myths, and offering concrete facts:
21 May UPDATE from AMTA National:
|Expanded Reopening Consideration for Massage Therapists: Practice Guidelines and Insurance Coverage
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, AMTA is committed to supporting you and making sure you have the most up to date information. Each state will have its own reopening guidance, and it’s important to be aware of the laws, executive orders, and regulations that impact massage therapists at this time. It’s also important to make sure that your professional liability insurance covers you for communicable diseases like the Coronavirus. AMTA members, rest assured, there are no exclusions on your policy for this Coronavirus or communicable diseases. If you’re not an AMTA member, make sure you check with your provider. And new yesterday, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) has developed guidelines for state and regulatory agencies of oversight and massage therapists across various workplace settings that are now available for download.
Please forward to any massage therapists you think would benefit from this new resource.
Subscribe to AMTA’s advocacy mailing list here.
16 May UPDATED RESOURCES from AMTA National Site: https://www.amtamassage.org/about/news/covid-19-resources-for-massage-therapists/
The 1 May 2020 UPDATE Document from the Maine State License Office. Please click on the line below:
Here is a link to AMTA National website with suggested guidelines and resource links for businesses financial supports, and guidelines to follow for ethical and scientifically sound protocols to re-open when the State of Maine determines.
We want to ensure practitioners, clients, and our communities are safe. We are committed to practicing according to ethical, professional, and scientifically accurate guidelines. For details on Maine State links and Covid-19 information, check those pages as well.
Thank you for your patience as we post and coordinate the information here.
As of 23 April: Disclaimer: AMTA National and AMTA Maine Chapter do not have an opinion about any links that offer opinion or information that requires further research.
We aim to offer information for people to consider.
All LMTS and practitioners should rely on and refer to STATE and CDC guidelines for correct and MOST current protocol. Please follow updates from those reliable sources, and be patient as things will be changing daily, weekly, and monthly.
Feel free to contact one of our volunteers via phone or email anytime. If we do not have an answer or resources, we can search further on your behalf.
Please let our volunteers know if you have other valuable resources or any questions you think we can assist with.
We are here to support one another, share, and stay connected. This is a great time to get involved with our committees to keep activities and future planning buoyed and robust.
Regular updates via AMTA National that come to us include membership renewals, financial supports, Federal and state relief/grants, loans, CDC guidelines, state and local updates for businesses, how to prepare for re-opening etc.
UPDATE: May 1, 2020:
10 Important Considerations for Reopening
Knowing that every state will restart in its own way and will likely provide varying specifics for how and when you can begin to practice, here are 10 important considerations as you plan for when your state will allow you to begin seeing clients.
1. Gain a full understanding of any new laws and ordinances at the local, state, and national levels and adjust your practices accordingly.
2. Institute thorough cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing protocols in your massage room as well as any communal areas and of any objects clients touch.
3. Consider the laundry policy for your clothes, linens, towels, and other washable objects.
4. Think about your own use of Personal Protection Equipment (including masks, gloves, and clothing).
5. Practice proper handwashing and hygiene protocols.
6. Consider your booking practices and make any changes to allow for sanitization procedures and recognizing social distancing recommendations that may limit the number of people in one space. Evaluate your cancellation policy and protocols if a client shows signs of illness.
7. Implement an enhanced intake process and demonstrate your commitment to the health of your clients and yourself.
8. Minimize contact during check-ins and check out (make use of virtual tools).
9. If you work with other massage therapists or service providers, consider any necessary updates to your HR and staffing policies. If you are an employee, carefully review any guidelines you will need to follow.
10. Post signage in waiting rooms and common areas to emphasize social distancing, handwashing, and any protective equipment you expect your clients to use.
We encourage every massage therapist to use their best professional judgment about their ability to accept and care for clients in a way that follows their state, CDC and OSHA guidelines. And, we are working to get more concrete answers from healthcare experts, governments and massage therapy licensing boards and will be providing you with resources for protecting both yourself and your clients.
Some other resources about current concerns, questions, and issues we will to continue to discuss and develop responses to in our practices to ensure our work and protocols are up-to-date, ethical, professional, in compliance with our State mandates, and informed:
LINKS from infographic:
(Video) Hayden, M., Werner, R., Thompson, D. A discussion on the potential changes coming due to Covid 19 to the massage/bodywork professions (April 20, 2020). www.youtube.com/…
Cates, C. “Your governor is not a massage therapist.” April 21 blog post at Healwell, www.healwell.org/…/your-governor-is-not-a-massage-…
Koplen, M. Massage therapy and coronavirus: 4 reasons why masks and clean surfaces aren’t enough. Massage (April, 2020)
MT & COVID FB group:
US Dept of Labor, OSHA. Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.