Atlantic City, NJ
Atlantic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners (now City Council) of the City of Atlantic City 2-3-1977 by Ord. No. 7-1977; amended in its entirety 12-10-2008 by Ord. No. 110-2008. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 182-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to insure the health and safety of consumers of massage within the City of Atlantic City.

§ 182-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AGENT
Any and all persons, other than the massage practitioner(s) and employee(s), who are authorized to act for or in place of the licensee, business(es), practitioner(s) and/or employee(s).
CERTIFICATE or CERTIFICANT
Shall be used as that term is used in N.J.A.C. 13:37-16.1 et seq.
EMPLOYEES
Any and all persons, other than the practitioner(s), who work for a business licensed pursuant to this chapter, who receive compensation directly from the licensee and who have no physical contact with the patrons.
LICENSE or LICENSED
Shall be used as that term is used in N.J.S.A. 45:11-53 et seq.
LICENSEE
The operator of a massage business and/or a massage practitioner, who will receive money or any other consideration therefor and who has a license issued pursuant to this chapter.
MASSAGE
Massage, bodywork, pressure and somatic therapy. Those terms shall be used herein as those terms are used in N.J.S.A. 45:11-55 et seq. and this chapter.
MASSAGE, BODYWORK, PRESSURE, SOMATIC THERAPIES
Systems of activity of structured touch which include, but are not limited to, holding, applying pressure, positioning and mobilizing soft tissue of the body by manual techniques and use of visual, kinesthetic, auditory and palpating skills to assess the body for purposes of applying therapeutic massage, bodywork, pressure or somatic principles. Such application may include, but is not limited to, the use of therapies such as heliotherapy, or hydrotherapy, the use of moist hot and cold external application of herbal or topical preparations not classified as prescribed drugs, explaining and describing myofascial movement, self-care and stress management as it relates to massage, bodywork and somatic therapies. Massage, bodywork and somatic therapy practices are designed to affect the energetic system of the body for purposes of promoting and maintaining the health and well-being of the client. Massage, bodywork, pressure and somatic therapies do not include the practice of medicine, surgery, dentistry, osteopathy, chiropractic, physical therapy or other medical or surgical practices as defined in Title 45, Chapter 9, of New Jersey Statutes Annotated or to licensed nurses acting under the direct prescription and direction of said practitioners. Massage, bodywork, pressure and somatic therapies do not include massage of the scalp, hands or feet by a hair or nail salon or chair massage of arms, neck and shoulders in an open room or area where other business is conducted, or certificated therapeutic methods that are employed when the patron is fully clothed.
MASSAGE BUSINESS(ES)
Any establishment located in a fixed place of business on a nonresidential property owned, leased, operated or controlled by any person, firm, association or corporation which engages in or carries on, or permits to be engaged in or carried on, any of the massage activities defined in this chapter. This includes any establishment engaged in or carrying on or permitting any combination of a massage, bodywork, pressure and/or somatic therapy and bathhouse establishment.
MASSAGE PRACTITIONER(S)
Any person who holds a certificate as defined by this chapter who, for any consideration whatsoever, engages in the practice of massage, bodywork, pressure and/or somatic therapy as herein defined, including but not limited to subcontractors, subtenants or temporary employees certified by the State of New Jersey.
MASSAGE WORK AREA
Any room, floor or section of a massage business where massage, bodywork, pressure and/or somatic therapies as herein defined are carried out.
PATRON
Any person who receives a massage, bodywork, pressure and/or somatic therapies under such circumstances that it is reasonably expected that he or she will pay money or give any other consideration therefor.
PERSON
An individual person, partnership, corporation, limited-liability company or any other enterprise or entity capable of conducting a massage business and/or massage services. Persons shall specifically include and apply to individual owners of massage businesses, as well as the entity(ies).
STRESS THERAPY STUDIO
A facility in which massage, bodywork, pressure or somatic therapy is provided to all clients in a single open workspace, which workspace is visible, in its entirety, to the public from the exterior of the premises at all times of business operation.

§ 182-3 License required.

A. 
Massage business. No persons shall operate a business engaged in the provision of massage, bodywork, pressure or somatic therapy services unless such person has first obtained a valid license for such business from the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office and the Atlantic City Health Department in accordance with the terms and provisions of this chapter. Each applicant shall be fingerprinted by Sagem Morpho, Inc. Fingerprints so furnished shall become a part of the application. In the event of a partnership, all partners, and in the event of a corporation, the president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, shall be required to submit the above-mentioned sets of fingerprints, which fingerprints so taken shall be submitted to the Chief of Police for comparison and record. The number of licenses issued shall be limited as follows:
(1) 
For massage businesses other than those conducted in a stress therapy studio, no more than one license shall be issued for each 10,000 residents of the City of Atlantic City, as published by the most recent available statistics by the United States Bureau of the Census.
(2) 
The Atlantic City Mercantile License Office and the Atlantic City Health Department shall issue a license to operate upon satisfaction by the applicant that he or she has met all the requirements of N.J.S.A. 45:11-53 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 13:37-16.1 et seq.
B. 
Massage practitioner. No person shall engage in providing massage services unless such person has first obtained a valid massage practitioner license issued by the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office and the Atlantic City Health Department pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and is certified by the State of New Jersey pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:11-53 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 13:37-16.1 et seq.
(1) 
The provision of massage services shall be limited to licensed medical centers, hospitals, sanitariums or the duly licensed office of a physician, osteopath, chiropractor, physical therapist or the office of a duly licensed massage business, as defined herein.
(2) 
No person other than a licensed and state-certified massage practitioner shall have any physical contact with patients or persons within the office of said physician, osteopath, chiropractor, physical therapist or massage business.
(3) 
The Atlantic City Mercantile License Office and the Atlantic City Health Department shall issue a license to practice upon satisfaction by the applicant that he or she has met all the requirements of N.J.S.A. 45:11-53 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 13:37-16.1 et seq.

§ 182-4 License fees.

Every applicant for a massage practitioner license and/or a massage business license pursuant to this chapter shall file annually a complete application with the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office and the Atlantic City Health Department as set forth in this chapter and pay an annual filing fee as follows:
A. 
For a massage business license pursuant to this chapter, the fee shall be $300 per year.
[Amended 4-20-2016 by Ord. No. 20-2016]
B. 
For each additional massage practitioner working for a licensed massage establishment and/or business, the fee shall be $150 per year. The license issued to a massage practitioner under this section is only for an individual massage establishment, and the license cannot be transferred to another massage establishment. Should the massage practitioner move to another business, they will need to submit a new application for that business.
[Amended 4-20-2016 by Ord. No. 20-2016]
C. 
All fees are nonrefundable. Fees are annual and not prorated.
D. 
The license fee shall be due on the first day of July in each year.
E. 
Any changes in ownership shall require a new application and license with the payment of the fees therefor.
F. 
If at any time after the initial license is granted additional practitioners begin providing services at any massage business, all of the information required herein must be submitted to the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office and the Atlantic City Health Department prior to the massage practitioner providing services and the additional fee must be paid.
G. 
In addition to the above, each massage practitioner and massage business applicant must pay the fee required to obtain a criminal background check.

§ 182-5 Application/renewal for practitioner license and/or business license.

A. 
Each massage business must be licensed and each massage practitioner must be licensed. There shall be a separate massage business license and a separate massage practitioner license.
B. 
Each application for a license or renewal thereof, either to operate a massage business or premises or to engage in the business of massage or to be employed as a massage practitioner, shall be approved by the governing body before any license is issued. First-time applicants for any licensure must be fingerprinted and photographed in accordance with the terms and provisions of this chapter and the procedures established by the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office. The governing body shall not approve such application if, on the basis of the criminal record of the applicant or of the principles thereof or on the basis thereof of other evidence of bad character or morals, it shall determine that the granting or renewal of such license would tend to encourage or permit criminal or immoral activities within the City of Atlantic City.
C. 
Any applicant for a massage practitioner license or massage business license shall file a written application with the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office and the Atlantic City Health Department on a form to be furnished by the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office. The applicant shall accompany the application with a tender of an application fee of $25 the correct fees set forth in this chapter above and shall, in addition, furnish the following:
(1) 
The applicant's name, complete address, residence and cell phone number.
(2) 
All previous addresses within the last five years prior to the present address of the applicant.
(3) 
Written proof of age.
(4) 
Height, weight, sex and color of hair and eyes.
(5) 
Previous employment and business history, including whether or not the applicant has previously operated in this or another municipality or state under a license or permit and whether or not any such license or permit was denied, revoked or suspended and the reason therefor and the business activities or occupations subsequent to such action or denial, suspension or revocation.
(6) 
All criminal convictions other than misdemeanor traffic violations, fully disclosing the jurisdiction in which convicted and the offense for which convicted and the circumstances thereof.
(7) 
Upon initial application, a written waiver and consent to allow a fingerprint and criminal background check by Sagem Morpho, Inc. For this, a fee shall be paid by the applicant.
(8) 
The names and addresses of two adult residents of this state who will serve as character references. These references must be persons other than relatives and business associates.
(9) 
A written declaration by the applicant under penalty of perjury that the foregoing information contained in the application is true and correct.

§ 182-6 Building requirements; inspections.

No massage business shall be issued a license to operate or establish in the City of Atlantic City unless a walk-through inspection is conducted by the Mercantile License Office and an inspection by the appropriate departments produces the following:
A. 
A written report by the Atlantic City Construction Department that construction of rooms used for toilets, tubs, steam baths and showers is waterproof with approved waterproof materials and installed in accordance with the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and that the premises comply with all other appropriate building requirements.
B. 
A written report by the Atlantic City Health Department that:
(1) 
All massage tables have surfaces which may be readily disinfected.
(2) 
The premises have adequate equipment for sanitizing nondisposable instruments and materials used in administering massages. Such nondisposable instruments and materials must be disinfected after use on each patron.
(3) 
Closed cabinets are provided and used for the storage of clean linen, towels and other materials used in connection with administering massages. All soiled linens, towels and other materials are kept in properly covered containers or cabinets, which containers or cabinets are kept separate from the clean storage area.
(4) 
Toilet facilities are provided in convenient locations.
(5) 
Lavatories or washbasins providing both hot and cold running water are installed in either the toilet room or a vestibule immediately adjacent thereto. Lavatories or washbasins are provided with soap and a dispenser and with sanitary towels.
C. 
A written report by the Atlantic City Fire Department that the premises meet the Fire Code of the City of Atlantic City.

§ 182-7 Referral of applications.

The Atlantic City Mercantile License Office, upon receiving an application for a massage business license, shall refer the application to the Atlantic City Construction Official, the Atlantic City Fire Department and the Atlantic City Police Department, which departments shall inspect the premises proposed to be operated as a massage business and shall make written recommendation to the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office concerning the laws and codes that they administer, as herein provided.

§ 182-8 Additional provisions applicable to stress therapy studios.

A. 
All massage therapy services in stress therapy studios must be provided within a single, open, undivided workspace, which workspace, in its entirety, must remain visible to the public from the exterior of the premises during all hours of operation;
B. 
No member of the public shall be permitted in any area of a stress therapy studio other than the open, undivided workspace and restroom area;
C. 
All recipients of massage services in stress therapy studios must remain clothed during receipt of said services.

§ 182-9 Issuance or refusal of practitioner license and/or business license.

The Atlantic City Mercantile License Office may issue a massage practitioner license and/or massage business license within 30 days following receipt of a completed application and the certifications set forth in this chapter if all requirements described in this chapter are met, unless the Mercantile License Office finds that:
A. 
The correct license fee has not been tendered to the City of Atlantic City and, in the case of a check or bank draft, honored with payment upon presentation.
B. 
In the case of a massage business application, the operation as proposed by the applicant, if permitted, would not comply with all applicable laws, including but not limited to the City of Atlantic City building, zoning, fire and health codes and regulations.
C. 
The applicant has knowingly made any false, misleading or fraudulent statement of fact in the license application or in any document required by the City of Atlantic City in conjunction therewith.
D. 
The applicant has had a massage business, massage practitioner or other similar permit or license denied, revoked or suspended by the City of Atlantic City or any other state or local agency, which finding may be waived by the City Council in its discretion.
E. 
The applicant, if an individual, any of the officers and directors or managing director, if the applicant is a corporation, any of the members or managing member, if the applicant is a limited-liability company, any of the partners, including limited partners, or managing partner, if the applicant is a partnership, or the manager or other person principally in charge of the operation of the business is not over the age of 18 years.
F. 
The applicant(s), if an individual, any of the officers and directors or managing director, if the applicant is a corporation, any of the members or managing member, if the applicant is a limited-liability company, any of the partners, including limited partners, or managing partner, if the applicant is a partnership, or the manager or other person principally in charge of the operation of the business has been convicted of an offense involving sexual misconduct with children, prostitution, soliciting for purpose of offenses opposed to decency and morality, or any crime of moral turpitude.

§ 182-10 Operating requirements.

A. 
Price rates for all services shall be prominently posted in the reception area in a location available to all prospective customers or given to the patron in the manner they can read.
B. 
Massage practitioners and employees shall be clean and wear clean, nontransparent outer garments.
C. 
The sexual, genital and rectal areas of patrons must be covered by towels, cloths or undergarments when in the presence of massage practitioners or employees.
D. 
While administering massage, as defined in this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to place his or her hand upon or to touch, fondle or massage in any manner a sexual, genital and/or rectal area of himself or herself or any other person.
E. 
No massage practitioner, employee or licensee shall perform, or offer to perform, any act which would require the touching of a patron's sexual, genital or rectal area.
F. 
All massage practitioners and employees shall refrain, under all circumstances, from initiating or engaging in any sexual conduct, sexual activities or sexualizing behavior involving a patron, even if a patron attempts to sexualize the relationship.
G. 
All walls, ceilings, floors, pools, showers, bathtubs, steam rooms and all other physical facilities shall be in good repair and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. Wet and dry heat rooms, steam or vapor rooms or steam or vapor cabinets and shower compartments and toilet rooms shall be thoroughly cleaned each day that the business is in operation. Bathtubs and showers shall be thoroughly cleaned after each use. When carpeting is used on the floors, it shall be kept dry.
(1) 
Oils, creams, lotions, stones and other preparations used in administering massage shall be kept in clean, closed containers or cabinets.
(2) 
Eating in a massage business shall not be permitted except in a designated cafeteria/kitchen. Animals, except for Seeing Eye dogs, shall not be permitted in a massage business.
(3) 
Each massage practitioner shall wash his or her hands in hot running water, using a proper soap or disinfectant, before administering a massage to each patron.
(4) 
All massage practitioners and massage businesses shall maintain appropriate liability insurance coverage with a reputable company licensed by the State of New Jersey in an amount of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and in the aggregate for all claims caused by personal injury. A certificate of insurance in acceptable form shall be provided to the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office within 10 days of the issuance of the license. In the event that the certificate of insurance is not provided to the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office within the time prescribed, the license will be revoked. Proof of appropriate liability insurance must be conspicuously posted.
H. 
Nothing contained herein shall be construed to eliminate other requirements of statute or chapters concerning the maintenance of premises or to preclude authorized inspection thereof.

§ 182-11 Prohibited activities.

A licensee and/or employee shall not perform:
A. 
Colonic irrigations;
B. 
Prostate massages;
C. 
Vaginal or penile massages;
D. 
Rectal massages;
E. 
Animal therapies prohibited by the Veterinary Medical Act, N.J.S.A. 45:16-1 et seq.;
F. 
Any application of electrical current to the body (Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation, TENS machine);
G. 
Ultrasound therapy; and
H. 
Diagnosis of illness, disease, impairment or disability.

§ 182-12 Revocation or suspension of license.

[Amended 1-27-2010 by Ord. No. 03-2010]
Any license issued for a massage practitioner and/or massage business may be revoked or suspended by the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office after a hearing, for good cause, or in any case where any licensee and/or employee violates any of the provisions of this chapter or where any licensee and/or employee violates any of the state or local laws or ordinances. Any massage business license may be revoked or suspended if any licensee, massage practitioner or employee refuses to permit any duly authorized health inspector, police officer, building department inspector or fire inspector to inspect the premises or the operations therein. Any massage business license may also be revoked or suspended by the Atlantic City Mercantile License Office and/or Atlantic City Health Department if such business is being managed, conducted or maintained without regard for the public health or health of patrons or without due regard for proper sanitation and hygiene. A hearing may be requested by a licensee concerning a suspension or a revocation order within 10 days of its issuance. The Atlantic City Director of Licensing and Inspections shall be the hearing officer and be the sole authority to revoke said license pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:52-1.2.

§ 182-13 Maintenance of register required.

All massage business licensees must maintain a register of all persons employed as massage practitioners and their license numbers and all other employees and agents. Such register shall include the name, address, date of birth and social security number of all massage practitioners, employees and agents and shall be available for inspection at all times during regular business hours.

§ 182-14 Responsibilities of licensee.

The licensee shall be responsible for all actions which occur on the premises of a massage business, whether by massage practitioners, employees, subcontractors or other agents, where the licensee has actual or constructive knowledge of such actions.

§ 182-15 Posting of business license required.

All massage businesses shall post their massage business licenses in conspicuous locations at all times.

§ 182-16 Inspections.

The Atlantic City Health Department, Atlantic City Police Department, Atlantic City Construction Department and Atlantic City Fire Department shall, from time to time, announced or unannounced, make an inspection of each massage business for the purpose of determining whether the provisions of this chapter are complied with. Such inspections shall be made at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner and in compliance with this chapter. It shall be unlawful and grounds for a suspension and/or revocation of the license for any licensee to fail to allow such inspection officer access to the premises or to hinder such officer in any manner.

§ 182-17 Minors prohibited; exception.

No person shall permit any person under the age of 18 years to receive a massage without advance written permission from his or her parent, caregiver or guardian or unless a parent, caregiver or guardian is present in the room during the time of the massage.

§ 182-18 Alcoholic beverages prohibited.

No person shall sell, give, dispense, provide or keep or permit the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises of a massage business.

§ 182-19 Unlawful acts.

A. 
Any violation of this chapter shall be deemed grounds for suspension and/or revocation of the license granted hereunder.
B. 
Any massage practitioner and/or massage business operating without a license from the City of Atlantic City shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter.

§ 182-20 Operation and conduct limited to license specifications.

No person granted a license pursuant to this chapter shall operate under any name or conduct his or her business under any designation for any location not specified in his or her license.

§ 182-21 Transferability.

Massage business licenses are not transferable, separate or divisible, and such authority as a massage business license confers shall be conferred only on the licensee named therein for the location of the massage business specified therein only. Massage practitioner licenses are not transferable, separate or divisible.

§ 182-22 Exceptions.

The provisions of this chapter do not apply to massage, bodywork, pressure, somatic therapy or physical therapy treatments given:
A. 
In the office of a licensed physician, osteopath, chiropractor or physical therapist.
B. 
In a regularly established medical center, hospital or sanatorium having a staff which includes licensed physicians, osteopaths, chiropractors and/or physical therapists.
C. 
By any licensed physician, osteopath, chiropractor or physical therapist in the residence of his or her patient.
D. 
In any licensed health and/or athletic club.
E. 
In any casino as that term is defined at N.J.S.A. 5:12-6 (a single room in which casino gaming is conducted pursuant to the provisions of this act) and/or N.J.S.A. 5:12-192 (a licensed casino or gambling house located in Atlantic City at which casino gambling is conducted pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 5:12-1 et seq.) or any hotel with a minimum of 200 rooms.

§ 182-23 Existing establishments and practitioners.

All persons who presently operate a massage business and hold a license issued by the City of Atlantic City must comply with the provision of this chapter within 30 days of the effective date of this chapter. All persons who are presently practicing as massage practitioners pursuant to a license issued by City of Atlantic City must become certified by the State of New Jersey pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:11-53 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 13:37-16.1 et seq. and must present the certification by the State of New Jersey to the Atlantic City Mercantile Office within one year of the effective date of this chapter. Applications for renewal of licenses must be filed not more than three months nor less than two months prior to termination of an existing license.

§ 182-24 Violations and penalties.

Unless another penalty is specifically provided elsewhere in the Code of the City of Atlantic City or the laws of the State of New Jersey, any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction in Municipal Court, be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 90 days or by a fine not exceeding $2,000, or both, in the discretion of the Court.