Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.68 (EO 202.68) on October 6, 2020, which directed the New York Department of Health to determine areas requiring increased public health restrictions. EO 202.68 introduced cluster-based metrics and the red, orange, and yellow color zones indicating the level of risk in those zones. Empire State Development published guidance to help interpret EO 202.68 and which businesses must close in each color zone.
According to Empire State Development, medically necessary massage therapy is considered an “essential health care operation” and is permitted to resume when micro-cluster zones are labeled orange or red. What qualifies as “medically necessary massage therapy” is not defined in the new order; however, in the Personal Care Services Guidelines released earlier this year, massage is included among other personal care businesses such as spas, cosmetology, and waxing. To avoid challenges, massage therapists are advised to err on the side of caution and to require a doctor’s note, email, or prescription when offering “medically necessary massage therapy.”
These cluster zones are a moving target and we encourage you to stay current with what is happening in your area of New York by visiting the New York Forward website.