10 massage outlets ordered to close for 10 days for non-compliance with mask-wearing

The police have issued 10-day Closure Orders to 10 massage establishments that were found to be in breach of the Safe Management Measure (SMM) on mask-wearing within their licensed premises.

During island-wide enforcement checks on more than 300 massage establishments, police officers had found masseuses and/or customers at these premises not wearing a mask during a massage.

Where the customer was the party not wearing a mask, the masseuse had failed to ensure that the customer wore a mask before providing a massage.

These massage establishments and customers were also fined $1,000 and $300 respectively for the breach.

During the enforcement checks, another three massage establishments were found to have breached the conditions under which they could operate as exempted establishments under the Massage Establishments Act.

The operators are being investigated for carrying on a business of providing massage services in an establishment for massage without a valid licence under Section 5(1) of the Massage Establishment Act 2017.

The offence carries a fine not exceeding $10,000 and/or a jail term of up two years.

For repeat offenders, the offence carries a fine not exceeding $20,000 and/or imprisonment of up five years.

The police reminded: "Massage establishments are to ensure that all staff and customers remain masked up at all times within the premises, even during the provision of a massage.

"Only customers who are using saunas, onsens or having their facials done may be exempted from mask-wearing."

The police also said they will continue with enforcement checks at massage establishments to ensure compliance with safe measurement measures, alongside existing rules under the Massage Establishments Act.

Massage establishment operators who do not comply with safe management measures may be liable for a fine not exceeding $10,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both, for the first offence.

For subsequent offences, higher penalties of a fine of up to $20,000 and/or a jail term for up to twelve months may apply.

Members of the public are advised to take the prevailing safe distancing measures seriously.

For non-compliance with safe distancing measures under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020, offenders may be jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000.

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