Massage Regulations FAQ



On April 18, 2017 the City Council approved four ordinances establishing separation requirements for massage establishments and making several revisions to the City's codes governing massage services.  The four-ordinance package includes two ordinances that will take effect immediately, increasing the separation standards for massage establishments subject to the City's conditional use permit (CUP) process and other procedural changes.  

To see a copy of Urgency Ordinance No. 631-C.S. (Zoning Code), click here.
To see a copy of Urgency Ordinance No. 633-C.S. (Business Regulations), click here.
To see a copy of Regular Ordinance No. 632-C.S. (Zoning Code), click here.
To see a copy of Regular Ordinance No. 634-C.S. (Business Regulations), click here.  


The City Council has adopted two ordinances impacting massage establishments.  These are Ordinance No. 612-C.S. and Ordinance No. 619-C.S. The following is a summary of some of the key aspects of these new massage ordinances.  This is not a complete list of requirements.  The complete ordinances are available on the City website at, or call 626-308-2812 for additional information.  All businesses offering massage services in the City must abide by all of the following regulations, as well as by additional regulations found in the ordinances.

All new massage businesses, or those having any kind of change of ownership (adding a partner, deleting a partner, new owner, etc.) must obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the Planning Commission prior to starting the business license process.

If your massage business had a valid Certificate of Operation prior to January 20, 2015 you have until January 20, 2018 to apply for the CUP.

If you had a CUP prior to September 20, 2011 for a massage establishment you do not have to obtain a new CUP, but you do have to comply with all of the new provisions of the ordinances. 

All massage businesses must have a Certificate of Operation.  This may be obtained after the CUP process at the time you apply for your business license.  The Certificate of Operation must be accompanied by a signed copy of the lease, a floor plan drawn to scale and labeled in inches and feet, and a notarized acknowledgement from the property owner that a massage establishment will be located on the property.  Certificates of Operation are not transferrable.

All massage business owners and managers must obtain Massage Operator Permits (MOPs) prior to applying for a business license.  This may be done prior to the CUP process.  MOPs must be renewed every three years.  There must be at least one person with  an MOP on the premises during all working hours.

All massage businesses must display the following documents at all times in a clearly visible place:
  • The Business License
  • The Certificate of Operation
  • A photograph of the Massage Operator on duty that is at least 4”x6” (except sole providers)
  • A sign stating that the premises are subject to inspection by City officials at any time
  • A price list of all services offered and their cost and duration
  • The hours of operation
All massage providers must be CAMTC certified and must wear their CAMTC photo ID cards in plain sight at all times.

Massage businesses may open no earlier than 8:00 a.m. and close no later than 10:00 p.m.  Any massage started prior to 10:00 p.m. must be completed by 10:00 p.m. 

Visitors, friends and guests must remain in the lobby or reception area of the business at all times.  All patrons, visitors, etc. must enter and exit through the front door, which shall remain unlocked during business hours, with limited exceptions.  There shall be no buzzers, alarms or intercom systems.

No exterior windows may be covered by curtains, closed blinds, tints or any other material that obstructs or darkens the view into the premises. No signs may cover more than 25% of any windowpane.

Only standard or portable massage tables or chairs may be used and must be covered by durable, washable plastic or similar material.  In no case may any type of bed, futon, mattress, foam pad etc. more than four feet wide or four inches thick be used.

All massage tables must be at least two feet from all walls at all times.

Massage owners and operators shall be responsible for all activity in the massage business at all times.  They must also notify the Chief of Police in writing of any changes in massage providers within seven calendar days of such change.  Copies of each massage provider’s CAMTC certificate and identification card must be provided to the Police Department and kept on file at the business.  They must also maintain a register at the business that details all workers’ names, nicknames and aliases; home addresses and all phone numbers; age, birthdate, gender, height, weight and color of eyes and hair; date of employment and termination, if any; and the duties of each person.

All massage rooms shall have swinging doors that open inwards, drapes, curtains, or accordion pleated closures.  Only bathroom doors and exterior access doors may have locks on them.

All rooms in which massages will be provided shall be lit with a minimum of one lighting fixture emitting at least 210 lumens for every 150 square feet of space.  No dimmer switches, colored lights, strobes, any cover that alters or darkens the primary light source, etc. may be used. 

Representatives of the City’s Police Department, Fire Department, Community Development Department, Finance Department and agents for the City from the County Health Department and representatives of any state or local with regulatory authority over massage establishments shall have the right to enter massage establishments, from time to time, during regular business hours or at any time that the massage establishment is occupied or open or business to verify the massage establishment is in compliance with all applicable laws without the need for an inspection or abatement warrant.