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Re: “Berkeley Cracks Down on...Chair Massages?

This confusing and unintended situation happened as a result of On the Spot Massage sending new practitioners into the permit department to get massage practitioner permits and business licenses. The city then found both On the Spot Massage and Whole Foods needed to get compliant and the whole situation became unworkable as their were glitches in the information that escaped the cities ability to collect or request us to inform them of changes that we would have gladly made along the way 2004 - 2011.

So this closure happened in an effort to improve on getting our contracted massage practitioners to be compliant with permits and business licenses.

1. Back in 2004 we did not know we needed a massage establishment permit for Whole Foods Berkeley, no one from the store asked including the Berkeley business license department partly because they miss categorized our business license as "Help Supply Service" they couldn't figure out what chair massage was.

2. The unexpected recent closure resulted in going to the permit department to get the permit only to find out that the requirements had changed since we started in 2004 at Whole Foods. The business owner was not doing massage at all and was still required to have 500 hours of training to buy an establishment permit even though not providing massage services.

3. Even if she had the required hours she would not have been able to obtain the establishment permit because Whole Foods did not have the zoning use permits needed and was given 4 citations of which a permit would not have been possible to apply for that location anyway. On the Spot Massage was given a $500 violation of which was recommended by city council Kriss Worthington to wait for the council meeting to change the ordinance as the violation may likely be dropped and therefor the fine.

4. Whole Foods Berkeley and On the Spot Massage have had a great relationship and the customers and practitioners of 7 years have all benefited from our aligned mission to bring more health and well being to the public. We serve affordable massage that makes a difference for so many people as well as store team members. Anyone can come in and sign up for a 10 - 30 minute session.

5. Many of our practitioners have become compliant and we would like the cities support rather than punishing small business and assist us in getting any remaining practitioners compliant. The closure affects 18 practitioners who covered 21 shifts a week 10AM - 10PM this is very sad, they want to continue serving chair massage and making a living.

After amazing collaboration with Kriss Worthington City Council member District 7 and staff a massage establishment permit exemption proposal is going before the city council for vote.

Linda Maio Vice Mayor said - The massage establishment permit ordinance was never intended to affect chair massage set ups in a negative way" and " that she hopes this can all be resolved so businesses like ours can flourish".

An exemption from needing a massage establishment permit:
Chair massage in retail locations as an accessory service in public view fully clothed.
We accomplished the exemption in Oakland 2009 ( Ordinance 12675 C.M.S. approved by the entire Oakland city council and currently scheduled for the safety committee review April in Emeryville ( the Police Chief Ken James has been very helpful and supportive in the process as he is clear about "our" type of massage industry sectors difference and integrity.

On the Spot Massage has been contributing to the positive culture of massage since 1989, helping massage practitioners grow and thrive , serving the public where anyone can come and spend as little as $10 to loosen tight shoulders and feel better while going to the grocery store. to eat, shop and relax.

We can work together to keep our great service at Whole Foods Berkeley and continue to grow so chair massage can become a social value, as easy to enjoy as a good cup of coffee like cafe culture out while you are shopping.

Support chair massage being available, if the ordinance exemption passes we will be able to set up again , the fine and violation will be dropped as well as Whole Foods citations. A happy world for all, we are not criminals and now more than ever we need to support small businesses in our Berkeley community.

The exemption will be voted on
March 8th Tuesday 8PM
2134 Martin Luther King Jr Way
City Council Chamber 2nd floor

On the Spot Massage

Relaxing the world ... one chair massage at a time

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by shoshana on 03/04/2011 at 6:20 PM

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