Reopen as a Massage Business in Florida


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Reopen as a Massage Business in Florida

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Florida is a state that declares its reopen plan early. On April 29, 2020, the Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-112 announcing that stage 1 of reopen is effective on May 4, 2020. It allows some businesses and elective procedures to resume.
In the FAQ latter published by the Governor’s office, it states that "Medical services, including elective procedures, surgical centers, office surgery centers, dental offices, orthodontic offices, endodontic office and other health care practitioners' offices may fully re-open ... However, they must maintain adequate bed capacity and PPE."
In the EO 20-112, it also orders personal services such as barbershop remain close. The limitation to “Barber; Restricted Barber; Cosmetologist; Nail Specialist; Facial Specialist; Full Specialist; Hair Braider; Hair Wrapper; and Body Wrapper.” was later lifted by EO 20-120 on May 11.
My mother owns a massage establishment in Charlotte County, Florida. And massage businesses are regulated by the Florida Department of Health. Therefore, massage therapists are health care practitioners licensed by the Department of Health, and massage businesses should apply to EO 20-112 to resume business activities.
However, no massage establishments reopen after May 4. Because the wording of EO 20-112 is kind of ambiguous, it did not mention massage establishment at all. And many business owners and government workers believed that massage businesses are categorized as personal services and should remain close.
EO 20-120 only lifted limitations for some specific personal services businesses mentioned above. Massage business does not apply here.
During the week of May 11, my family started to concern about those Executive Orders. And started research about these orders, and I came up with the conclusion that massage businesses are health care practitioners who apply to EO 20-112 to resume business activities.
On the other hand, my mother is still afraid of the fine and possible detainment violating executive order. She has researched the local area, and no other massage businesses in the area had reopened.
Therefore, I started to contact the local government and state government agencies to figure out the exact interpretation for EO 20-112.
I emailed the Governor’s office. No response.
I called the Florida Department of Health Board of Massage Therapy. They told me they do not interpret the Governor’s Executive Order. OK.
My mother’s business friend emailed Charlotte County to see if EO 20-120, the order lift limitation of barbershops and body wrappers also applies to massage establishments. The county replies:
>>>>The governor's order covered: Barber; Restricted Barber; Cosmetologist; Nail Specialist; Facial Specialist; Full Specialist; Hair Braider; Hair Wrapper; and Body Wrapper.

>>>>Massage salons and such personal care services businesses are not covered by the order. Charlotte County has not added or removed any restrictions beyond what the governor's order covers.
This reply is also ambiguous, it only explains EO 20-120 does not include massage establishment. It does not mention if it applies to EO 20-112, where allows health care practitioners to resume business.
Therefore, I emailed the same county government worker asking about if massage businesses apply to EO 20-112. No response.
Lastly, on May 27, 2020, Florida Department of Health sent us an email clarifies that “Massage Therapists, Establishments are Health Care Practitioners” that are authorized by EO 20-112 to return to practice. (see attachment for the original email)
Then I contact Charlotte County to see if they implemented local limitation to massage business and they said, no, they follow the state policy.
The business was authorized to reopen since May 4. But every government agency is ambiguous about it. Contacting them did not help at all. We only got clear information to reopen on May 27, almost a month late.
It is really a time of struggling to survive for many small business owners like my mother. And this additional month of closing made us really frustrated when we thought of how much profit we could have made if the government agencies can address their policies more clearly.
text story. It is the story of my family.
reopen, small businesses, Florida

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This item was submitted on June 4, 2020 by [anonymous user] using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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