COVID-19 Update from FSMTA

 

 

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