Masseuses doing business in Seal Beach will be required to pay a one-time fee of $500 and have 1,000 hours of professional training at an accredited massage school, thanks to an ordinance now moving toward approval.
The City Council in February unanimously decided to adopt the measure, but last week postponed a final vote to give the administrative staff time to clear up language in the proposed ordinance.
Despite some reservations that 1,000 hours of training might be overly steep, the council decided to go along with the proposal after ordinances in other Southern California cities were examined.
Except for fortune telling, which carries a one-time fee of $750, the $500 fee will be the city's highest to establish a business, City Manager Allen Parker said.
When passed, the new law will establish strict requirements for massage establishments and technicians.
Prostitutes sometimes call themselves masseuses, officials said, necessitating the tough restrictions. In a report to the council, Police Chief Stacy T. Picascia said the current ordinance has been circumvented by "criminal elements operating under the guise of a legal profession."
"Once passed, the proposed ordinance will establish standards of education, conduct, dress, hygiene and operating requirement for massage establishments," Picascia said.
Applicants will be subject to extensive police investigation before permits are issued. Hours will be restricted to between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., and a list of available services and their costs will be required to be posted in plain view in the establishment.
Employees will also be required to wear "clean, non-transparent outer garments covering the body from neck to knee," the ordinance reads. Massages will be prohibited in closed, locked areas and certain areas of the body must be covered during a massage.