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A ban on massage services provided outside of a licensed establishment may soon be lifted in light of the challenges the industry faced during the pandemic.

Lifting the ban will also improve the safety of massage therapists who may already be illegally providing services offsite and therefore less likely to report abuse, board members hope.

“I would prefer that companies be candid about what they would like to do and make sure we have a policy that incorporates regulations,” said Burlingame Mayor Ann O’Brien Keighran. “It was also brought up because a lot of these companies suffered during COVID. “

Keighran noted that other companies, including hairdressers, physiotherapists and fitness trainers, have been allowed to offer in-home services.

It was also noted that several neighboring cities already allow offsite massage services, including San Francisco, South San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Redwood City and Mountain View. Millbrae, San Bruno, San Carlos, and Palo Alto are some of the towns that don’t allow offsite massages.

Burlingame banned off-site massages in 2013.

Massage therapists operating offsite should be certified by the California Massage Therapy Council under the ordinance. Certification, which is not required by state law but is sometimes required by local governments to operate a massage business, requires therapists to show proof of 500 hours of study, pass a background check , must be at least 18 years old and pay a fee of $ 200. .

Council member Michael Brownrigg, voicing other safety concerns for workers, suggested the city consider setting up a hotline to report abuse if workers feel uncomfortable contacting police.

“I’m concerned that the type of potential abuse is the kind of abuse that often goes unreported,” Brownrigg said. “Sexual harassment and worse still go unreported. “

Burlingame Police Chief Mike Matteucci said no one has ever been cited for offering off-site massage services in the town.

Support for the order to lift the ban was unanimous at Tuesday’s meeting. The ordinance will undergo a second reading in two weeks before being promulgated.

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