Woodstock hears new massage parlor ordinance

The Woodstock City Council has given first reading to an ordinance that strengthens the city’s regulation of massage operators.

The city has had a moratorium on issuing new licenses for massage businesses since August, giving staff time to draft new rules. These, officials have said, were in response to past incidents including “violations of a lascivious nature.”

The proposed, 13-page ordinance says a massage business and its therapists must be appropriately licensed, and the licensee or designated manager must be on site during hours of operations.

There may be no locks on doors to where massages are given, nor therapists in swimsuits or lingerie. Certain touching is prohibited. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Human Trafficking Notice must be posted in a non-customer area, such as a break room.

License applicants must be free of felony convictions going back 10 years, among other requirements. They must be fingerprinted by the police and submit sworn affidavits of at least three city residents attesting to their good moral character.

Applicants must disclose other massage establishments they have owned or operated, and if they’ve ever had a business license revoked or suspended and the reason why. The massage places themselves must be clean and sanitary, with prices prominently posted in the reception area, and records of treatments kept.