San Mateo County supervisors seek to tighten massage parlor rules 

San Mateo County supervisors voted Tuesday to tighten rules related to local massage parlors, including providing specifics on what the businesses should look like from the outside and what a massage therapist can and can’t wear while working.

County Counsel John Beiers said the proposed “tweaks” to the county’s current Massage Businesses Ordinance, which was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2012, will help officials fine-tune their inspections of massage parlors — especially those suspected of side-stepping regulations or even providing acts of prostitution.

“We get smarter all the time, and so do the illicit establishments.” Beiers said. “It’s essentially a chess game.”

Among the proposals adopted by the board was to specify that a massage therapist must wear a nontransparent outer garment that does not expose the genitals, buttocks or chest.

Underwear, bras, lingerie or swimsuits are not acceptable work attire, according to the amendment. An additional revision requires unblocked visibility into any parlor reception areas that have windows facing a street or parking lot.

And business records, including the names of clients and the services provided, must be readily available to inspectors without prior notice.

Under the 2012 ordinance, massage businesses can only operate between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., and those hours will remain the same under the amended ordinance. The board is scheduled to make a final vote on the ordinance at its meeting in two weeks.

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