COVID-19: Updates to NYS Guidelines & Regulations


6.15.21 - Today, Gov. Cuomo lifted nearly all business restrictions for covid-19 due to NYS reaching 70% for adults receiving at least one dose of an FDA approved covid-19 vaccine. Given New York’s progress and the diminished risk of COVID-19 within the community, the State lifted most COVID-19 restrictions, except the mask requirement for unvaccinated individuals and in certain settings (e.g., health care) as advised by the CDC. 


1.27.21 - Today, Gov. Cuomo lifted orange and yellow zone restrictions for most regions.  There are no red zones.  The remaining areas are in a yellow zone: Bronx, Washington Heights, Queens and Newburgh.

1.4. 21 - Today, Gov. Cuomo has updated  the schedule of vaccine priortizations.  Massage therapists can immediately begin taking the vaccine at their own discretion at no cost.  This is an update from December 14 when massage therapists were scheduled for the end of January.  For the latest in vaccines, for massage therapists as healthcare professionals and to find a vaccine provider in your area,  visit


12.14. 20 -  Today. Gov Cuomo updated guidance for spas and massage therapists. 

Effective Monday, December 14, massage therapy in any delivery model can continue to operate following the strict compliance to NYS Department of Health guidance. Massage Therapists must be tested weekly for COVID-19.  If your business/employer reopens, a massage therapist can resume after 7 days of receiving a negative COVID-19 test.  Medically necessary massage therapy can continued in essential healthcare operations.  Massage therapists are scheduled to be eligible for the vaccine at the end of January.  For the latest in vaccines, for massage therapists as healthcare professionals, visit

11.26.20 -   When a community is in a declared Orange/Red Zone Certain non-essential businesses, for which there is a higher risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, shall reduce in-person workforce by 100%; such businesses include personal care services including but not limited to spas, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail technicians and nail salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, the provision of laser hair removal and electrolysis.  Medically necessary massage therapy can continued is essential healthcare operations.

9.3.20 - Updated guides on Personal Care services allow resuming services requiring removal of face mask. NY LMTs will need to test negative on or after September 3 to apply any massage therapy on the face.  Click here for complete details from the NYS Department of Health.


7.8.20 - As previously announced, massage therapy resumed in Phase 3 on Monday, July 6 in New York City as the entire massage therapy profession in the state is fully activated in all business models.  Today,  Gov. Cuomo continues to strongly recommend filtering the indoor ventilation with a HEPA Filter with a MERV 13 rating or higher (other rating options are MERV 11 and 12) especially for malls, schools and office buildings.  


6.29.20 - Today, Gov. Cuomo announced that New York City, last region to allow massage therapy in Phase 3, is on track to enter Phase 3 for Monday, July 6.  However, there is a possibility for it to be delayed, particularly indoor dining.  Due to spread from other states and New Yorkers' lack of compliance with social distancing, large congregations and local government servicing mild enforcement, Gov. Cuomo will reexamine Phase 3 for NYC and will announce his decision on Wednesday to delay or greenlight Phase 3 on schedule.  In addition, he is recommending all businesses and offices consider installing filters MERV rating capable of filtering COVID-19.


6.17.20 - Today, Gov. Cuomo announced that Mid-Hudson and Long Island regions is on track to enter Phase 3 to starting June 23 and 24 respectively.    In his pursuit to rebuild New York for the better, Governor signed an executive order providing whistle blower protection for healthcare workers regarding improper patient care and workplace safety.

6.10.20 - Today, Gov. Cuomo confirmed in his briefing that massage therapy is in Phase 3 and 5 regions will enter Phase 3.  The Governor has stressed following the guidelines, receiving complaints of businesses not following the guidelines and the possibility of losing your license if not following the guidelines.  NYSSMMT recognizes that there are many decisions for a NY LMT  consider whether to reopen or not during the climate of COVID-19, recession and now civil unrest.  NYSSMMT members are reminded to participate in a free laws webinar "Unpacking unemployment" schedule for June 17 at 2 pm.  Click here to register.  Also another free resource to learn the NYS Massage Therapy guidelines is offered by Americas SBDC New York on June 12,  3 pm - 4 pm.  A recording will be available on Saturday for those who cannot attend.  


6.9.20 - Earlier today, Empire State Development began updating the Reopening Tool kit for Phase 3 listing massage therapy. What has not been announced at the time of this posting is when and which regions can enter Phase 3.  Please daily watch Gov. Cuomo's press briefing and watch the NY Reopening Tool kit.  Be aware that anything is subject to change between today and the upcoming reopening date.  Again, no massage therapy is to be practiced at this time and if your region is not called to enter Phase 3, practicing licensed massage therapy is violating the executive order.  To file a complaint on an NY LMT violating an executive order, click here 

6.5.20 - Once again the entire NYS massage therapy profession successfully lobbied for the activation of NAICS code 621399 to distinguish massage therapist separately from 821399 - Personal Care.   The profession is still pending an assigned reopening phase.

6.3.20 - ZOOM Membership Meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 8th @ 1:30 pm for latest development towards a reopening, NAICS update and open action items.

5.29.20 - From today's Gov. Cuomo briefing, massage therapy remains prohibited to reopen as 5 regions enter Phase 2.  Barbers and Hair Stylists will begin in Phase 2.  Worthy observations is that they will be required to get tested every two weeks and all customer facing workers must keep a log of every customer for contact tracing if a customer  or worker tests positive.

5.28.20 -  From today's Gov. Cuomo briefing, His slide on businesses and phases was updated. Phase 2 lists only barbers and hair stylists. Personal Care is listed as Phase 3. NYSSMMT will continue to work to get clarity for our profession.

5.20.20 - NYSSMMT would like to share condolences on the passing of Dr. Kathleen Doyle, Executive Secretary, NYS Office of Professions Massage Therapy Board.  Dr. Doyle has served the massage therapy community in her role for over 30 years.   As NYSSMMT understands, the loss of Dr. Doyle is being felt on the reopening of the massage therapy profession in New York.  There is no update at this time of a new or interim Executive Secretary for Massage Therapy.

5.14.2020 - NYSSMMT Membership meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 21 at 1 pm.  Membership only.  Become a NYSSMMT member today for only $93 to take advantage of additional support.

5.11.2020 -  At today's briefing, Governor Cuomo presented in further detail the reopening plan named,"NY Forward" and its handbook available for download.  The state will reopen by a regional format.  After meeting 7 metrics, a region will open in a 4-phase format with the most essential and low-risk infection businesses and professions opening first after having their submitted reopening plan approved.  Businesses will contact their regional leadership to be approved to reopen.     Massage therapists will need to familiarize themselves with their local officials.   Stay tuned to this page for further details.


NYSSMMT leadership is hosting another ZOOM meeting on Tuesday, May  5 at 1 pm to prepare for reopening massage therapy in the state of New York.  This will be an update from the ZOOM membership meeting on 4.21.20.