COVID-19 Update from FSMTA

 

 

August 18, 2020

In the last couple of weeks, FSMTA has been working to address Palm Beach County’s Emergency Order 15 prohibiting some massage therapists from practicing. This was a result of the county’s interpretation of the Governor’s Executive Order. Palm Beach County chose to interpret the executive order as not including massage therapy in Phase 1. Due to the efforts of our Legislative Team and Lobbyists this has been corrected. Licensed Massage Therapists ARE PERMITTED to work in Palm Beach County at this time. In addition to this the incorrect terminology referencing Massage Establishments as “Massage Parlors” has been corrected as well. As always we will continue to work on behalf of the Massage Therapy Profession.

https://discover.pbcgov.org/PDF/COVID19/PBC-EO-18.pdf

 

May 27, 2020

Important Massage Therapy Updates for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) from the DOH

http://flhealthsource.gov/pdf/05272020-massage-email-communication.pdf

 

May 21, 2020

On Wednesday May 20, 2020, the Florida Board of Massage Therapy had a conference call to share information and the FSMTA Legislative Chair was in attendance on that call. 

Here is a summary as related to 'return to work':

Florida Board of Massage Therapy director, Kama Monroe, definitively said massage therapists can return to work.  Her suggestion regarding PPE (personal protective equipment) is to follow the guidelines recently presented by FSMTB (Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards). If you are not familiar with the FSMTB , it is an organization that is comprised of representatives from all the state boards across the country.  You can find these suggested guidelines and more at  fsmtb.org.

 

May 14, 2020

According to the Florida Department of Health, the State Surgeon General has confirmed that Section 5 of the Governor's Executive Order 20-112 (see below) applies to massage therapists.

 EO-20-112.pdf

May 11, 2020

CDC has interim guidance to help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings. This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19. Visit CDC's COVID-19: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers webpage for the most up-to-date guidance and more information. CDC continues to update this interim guidance as additional information becomes available.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website also provides information on how to protect workers from potential exposures and guidance for employers, including steps to take for jobs according to exposure risk.

Businesses are strongly encouraged to coordinate with state and local health officials so timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses. Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies. Contact your state or local health department for guidance specific to your area.

Additionally, here is information regarding recommendations for healthcare providers we hope you find helpful. 

Limited information is available to characterize the spectrum of clinical illness associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). No vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19 is available; care is supportive.

The CDC clinical criteria for a COVID-19 patient under investigation (PUI) have been developed based on what is known about COVID-19 and are subject to change as additional information becomes available. Current criteria can be found on CDC's Evaluating and Testing Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html.

The COVID-19: Information for Healthcare Professionals website also has the following guidance available for healthcare professionals:

  • Infection control guidance
  • Clinical care guidance
  • Home care guidance
  • Guidance and Resources on Healthcare Supply of Personal Protective Equipment
  • Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure Guidance

This information is continuously being updated. Please check the CDC website periodically for the most up-to-date guidance.

For more information, please visit the following CDC websites:

CDC Resources

Coronavirus Disease 2019: Information for Healthcare Professionals
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/

Evaluating and Testing Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html

COVID-19: Resources for Businesses and Employers
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

COVID-19: Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html

COVID-19: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html

COVID-19: General Business Frequently Asked Questions
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/general-business-faq.html

Prepare your Small Business and Employees for the Effects of COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-small-business.html

Health Department Governance
https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/sitesgovernance/index.html

External Resources

Coronavirus Disease 2019
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/novel_coronavirus/index.html

Directory of Local Health Departments
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory

 

 

May 6, 2020

Remember the FSMTA is not a regulatory agency and these links are resources to utilize for when you decide to return to work. Massage therapists are healthcare providers under Florida Law and the decision to return to work is a personal, professional and ethical one that each individual needs to make for themselves based on their health, environment and clientele.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Recommendations Re-opening Facilities to Provide Non-emergent Non-COVID-19 Healthcare: Phase I
https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-flexibility-reopen-essential-non-covid-services.pdf

CDC Re-Opening Businesses Flow Chart
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/fs-reopening-america-workers-at-risk.pdf

CDC Infection Control Recommendations
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control-recommendations.html

CDC Hand Hygiene Recommendations
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/hand-hygiene.html

CDC Guide to Using PPE
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/using-ppe.html

CDC Strategies for Optimizing Facemasks
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html

May 1, 2020

On April 29, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-112, which goes into effect May 4, 2020.  There has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not LMTs can return to their practice.  The Florida Department of Health offered this statement, “LMTs may return to work provided they have ‘proper PPE’.”  We are still waiting to hear from the Florida Board of Massage Therapy on the definition of proper PPE.  Until that definition is received we suggest using prudent judgment in regard to your safety and the safety of your clients. 

Additionally, establishing a protocol that ensures the safety of both therapist and client is of utmost importance.  Included with this letter is a Covid-19 Questionnaire and Release that you can include in your business. Consider the possibility of incorporating the following measures, if you so choose:

  • Have clients complete the Covid-19 Questionnaire and Release form at every visit, regardless of the frequency of their appointments. 

  • Confirm the body temperature of every client when they enter the establishment.

  • If you share space with another LMT, consider alternating days or schedules to limit interaction with others.

  • Consider scheduling clients with a 30 minute break between appointments to allow ample time for extra sanitation procedures.

For more information on how to adequately prepare your business to reopen, please visit the following link to become educated about OSHA recommendations: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf

Please visit www.fsmta.org, COVID-19 Update for up to date information.

If you would like to offer feedback to the Governor’s Re-open Florida Task Force, please visit this link, Re-open Florida Public Comment Form

In addition, please verify any city, county, or municipality mandates regarding the practice of massage therapy.

 

April 29, 2020 

The DEO has just released a guide for applicants seeking the federal unemployment assistance which can be found here: http://floridajobs.org/docs/default-source/reemployment-assistance-center/cares-act/pua-claimant-guide.pdf?sfvrsn=c2b746b0_12

Please note that those seeking federal assistance will need to first apply for state reemployment (if they have not already). Then they can use the guide linked above to apply for the federal assistance.

 

April 20, 2020
Updated Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide for COVID-19:

 

April 17, 2020
Important Health Care Provider Updates for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
NEW! Florida Department of Health Resource Pool
The Florida Department of Health has established a mechanism for health care workers who are unemployed, furloughed or interested in volunteering to provide healthcare to areas impacted by COVID-19 to register in a resource pool that can be called upon when hospitals or long term care facilities need assistance. To register or for more information, please visit the Florida Department of Health Resource Pool, powered by Aya Healthcare, at: https://www.ayahealthcare.com/?page_id=80459&preview=1&_ppp=b11bae28bc.
Temporary Emergency Reactivation of Some Health Care Licenses
The Department will temporarily reactivate unencumbered inactive medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, physician assistants, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, respiratory therapists, emergency medical technicians and paramedics for a period of 90 days. An inactive license reactivated under this provision will return to inactive status when the public health emergency ends or before the end of the public health emergency if the State Surgeon General determines that the health care practitioner is no longer needed to provide services during the public health emergency. Inactive practitioners can log into their online account here to reactivate.
Donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
To help protect our health care workers, if you have PPE, please consider providing it to your local emergency medical service provider, hospital, long-term care facility, congregate living facility, compounding pharmacy and community testing sites. Contact your county emergency manager to determine where you can provide your donations https://www.floridadisaster.org/counties.
 

March 26, 2020

An update on Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance:

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – President Donald Trump has approved the Florida Disaster Declaration.

The following FEMA programs will be activated:

  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance
  • Crisis Counseling
  • Community Disaster Loans
  • Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program
Gov. DeSantis also said Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management Jared Moskowitz has been named the State Coordinating Officer for the emergency.
 

March 25, 2020 - Emails have gone out to FSMTA Members with much of the same information we have all been hearing. Our message to members included "We strongly encourage you to be vigilant in protecting yourself and your clients, and consider suspending your practice on a short-term, temporary basis."

Executive Order 20-72, issued on 3-20-2020 by Governor DeSantis, has caused some uncertainty within our profession. As much as we would like to provide a definitive answer, we can only offer the following statement from our Legislative Chair, Ian McIntosh, "the Florida Board of Massage Therapy informed us that their understanding is the Executive Order DOES include Licensed Massage Therapists performing massage as being a non-essential medical treatment."

In an effort to provide clear and concise documentation, if an official written statement from the Florida Board of Massage Therapy is received, we will share it immediately. If you would like more information, contact the DOH COVID-19 information line at 866-779-6121.

In regard to COVID-19 updates, we offer the same advice as everyone else, "refer to CDC and WHO guidelines, and that which applies specifically to your city, county, and state." No one person, group, business or association has all the answers. We await updates in much the same manner as our members. Be assured that any delays in providing information is to ensure that the information we share is both true and accurate.

Your insurance continues to be valid and is unaffected by COVID-19.  As has always been the case, your coverage requires that you practice within your scope and comply with the law.  That means that you should follow any transitional rules related to COVID-19 for providing massage services in Florida. Just as importantly, we all want to be supportive in limiting the spread of COVID-19.  So, we encourage all our members to follow both the directives and the recommendations of local health authorities in this regard.   

Below, you will find details on COVID (19) resources and filing for emergency assistance through the SBA. This information has been provided/obtained by our Lobbying team.  Our Lobbyists are also keeping us apprised of any other financial assistance programs as they become available.  If you find yourself in financial distress, many temporary positions are being created by health facilities, Amazon, and delivery services in response to this crisis.  We know these jobs are not in line with your chosen career, however, until we can return to our calling as Massage Therapists these are ways to help persevere until then.

FSMTA will continue to update our members about ways they can take advantage of any relief opportunities created in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and, as always, we will continue to offer excellent service to our members.

COVID (19) Resources:

   

Unemployment Assistance

Small Business Resources

  • Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
    • SBA is providing low-interest working capital loans to small businesses in every state. The loans can be used to cover accounts payable, debts, payroll and other bills the coronavirus has affected the ability to pay.
    • Apply for assistance: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance
  • Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan
    • Governor DeSantis has activated the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program, which is being administered by the Florida DEO. The program can provide loans of up to $50,000. We have been able to clarify that as long as you are a licensed massage therapist and own a licensed massage establishment, you are eligible for funding (despite the exclusion for “massage parlors”). However, you must have at least two employees to be eligible (this can be the owner and one other employee).
    • Apply for funding: https://floridadisasterloan.org

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to closely monitor the current outbreak of COVID-19 and is actively working to ensure that the most up-to-date CDC guidance is quickly and accurately disseminated to local partners.

For the best available information regarding COVID-19, please visit: http://www.floridahealth.gov/COVID-19