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by ARLnow.com — November 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm 536 34 Comments

The Arlington County Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to deregulate the local massage industry.

Massage practitioners have been required to obtain county permits to perform massages and to operate a massage parlor in Arlington since the mid-1970s. At that time, massage parlors were often viewed as fronts for prostitution businesses.

That licensing process is now “superfluous,” according to county staff, because the Virginia Board of Nursing has been doing its own licensing for massage therapists since 1997. Plus, officials say, prostitution isn’t nearly as endemic as it once was in the massage industry.

“The whole field of massage has evolved and changed incredibly in the past couple of decades, such that there are a lot of very legitimate medical practitioners out there using massage for all kinds of health reasons,” Deputy County Manager Marsha Allgeier told ARLnow.com in September.

The Board agreed with county staff’s recommendation to do away with the massage licensing ordinance.

“This code is outdated, degrading and redundant,” Board member Jay Fisette said, adding that eliminating the ordinance would be an example of the Board following its New Years promise to break down some of “the barriers to small business.”

Before the Board’s vote last night, regulations required massage therapists to submit a form, a $50 fee, a massage school diploma or certificate, two passport size photos, a Virginia massage therapist certificate and an FBI record check including fingerprints. Now, message practitioners will only need a state license.

Arlington County Police will still investigate any accusation of prostitution activity related to a message business, county staff said.

by ARLnow.com — November 16, 2011 at 9:26 am 2,261 55 Comments

Bullet Hit White House — Two bullets have been discovered on the White House grounds after Friday night’s shooting incident. Oscar Ramiro Ortega is wanted in connection with the shooting. The 21-year-old was stopped by Arlington County Police on the morning of the shooting for suspicious behavior, but ultimately he was photographed and released. Ortega might have been squatting in a vacant home in North Arlington. [NBC Washington]

County Board to Vote on Massage Regulation — The Arlington County Board is expected to vote over the weekend on whether to effectively deregulate the massage industry in Arlington. The industry was first regulated in the mid-20th century due to the use of massage parlors as a front for prostitution.

Police to Teach Teachers About Bullying — An Arlington County Police Department School Resource Officer will be educating teachers and staff at Yorktown High School about bullying today. Cpl. Jim Tuomey has developed a presentation on bullying and cyber-bullying that he hopes to eventually give at other schools around the county. [Arlington County Police]

Guas’ Favorite Cheap Eats — For its November issue, Southern Living magazine asked Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) owner and chef David Guas what some of his favorite “cheap eats” are in and around Arlington. Guas picked Lebanese Taverna (4400 Old Dominion Drive), Uncle Julios’s (4301 N. Fairfax Drive), Lost Dog Cafe (5876 N. Washington Blvd), and Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant (6249 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church). [Southern Living]

Flickr pool photo by Mennyj

by ARLnow.com — September 16, 2011 at 11:19 am 5,092 61 Comments

Arlington may be getting out of the business of licensing massage practitioners in the county.

The County Board is expected to vote in October on a request to advertise an ordinance change that would no longer require massage therapists to obtain a permit from the county’s health department. Instead, local massage therapists will only have to be certified by the state.

Arlington County’s massage regulation started decades ago, in response to a proliferation of prostitution operations masquerading as massage parlors. County officials say those days are largely past, and its time to look at massage therapists in a new light.

“The whole field of massage has evolved and changed incredibly in the past couple of decades, such that there are a lot of very legitimate medical practitioners out there using massage for all kinds of health reasons,” Deputy County Manager Marsha Allgeier told ARLnow.com. “In a way, it’s kind of an archaic law that we’re getting rid of… the old way of looking at massage therapists really does have to change.”

Allgeier said that the Arlington County Police department, not the health department, will be responsible for making sure that massage businesses — like the recently-opened Arlington Physical Center on Columbia Pike — are on the up and up.

“If there are illegal activities going on — that is, prostitution — that it needs to be treated as a police matter,” Allgeier said. “That’s the way to deal with the illegal activity that’s going on, not by requiring all massage professionals to go through an unnecessary… bureaucratic licensure process.”

Current regulations require massage practitioners to apply for a county Massage Therapist Permit by submitting a form, a $50 fee, a massage school diploma or certificate, two passport size photos, a Virginia massage therapist certificate and an FBI record check including fingerprints.

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