ROSEVILLE -- Some Roseville massage studio owners are worried about how proposed changes to the city's existing massage services ordinance might impact businesses that make sure their employees are not engaging in illicit activity.
The city is aiming to have massage businesses apply for permits through the police department instead of requiring individual massage therapists to apply for permits.
The city says this will give police the power to shut down massage studios for illicit activity, like prostitution, for up to one year, instead of just citing individual massage therapists who would previously move on to a different location.
The city also said it would allow police to randomly check any and all massage businesses.
"People are looking for prostitution. And they're thinking everyone will give happy endings and that's not true. We are not prostitutes. We are health care providers," Lauren McLachlan said.
McLachlan runs Misty Isle Massage on Douglas Boulevard in Rosevillle. She says that changes to the existing city ordinance, which would also prohibit massage studios from using sexually suggestive advertising, and limit hours of operation, do have merit.
However, she is concerned that it may come at the expense of legitimate business owners who make sure no illicit activity is taking place, in addition to sole proprietors who have no employees.
"I'm all for everybody getting checked, but I don't think you should be checked in every municipality when there's a statewide entity to vet and to certify," McLachlan said.
"Under the previous ordinance, if we found out a business was shady all we could do was cite the individual operators, and they might be onto another business the next day and bring another crew in," Roseville Police Department Spokesperson Dee Dee Gunther said.
Wednesday night the Roseville Police Department invited the local massage business community in for a discussion about the changes to the ordinance.
"This will actually give us a real tool to shut down the business if it's operating illicitly," Gunther said.
But some argued that the ordinance will only allow police to shut down a business for one year for illicit activity, and that that may not protect new employees who might get old clients who expect the same services they got a year prior.
"They're not experienced enough to screen them and will have a difficult time protecting themselves," McLachlan said.