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Colorado Springs Council set to vote on annual fee for massage business license, but who’s exempt?


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- On Tuesday during their regular meeting, Colorado Springs council members will vote on the newly proposed ordinance aimed at ending illicit massage parlors within the city for good. 

Nearly one year ago, the Colorado Springs Police Department gave a presentation to the council, highlighting just how prevalent illicit spas were in the city. At that time, the department indicated that there were at least 35 illegal parlors that officers were aware of within the city.

According to the new ordinance, it will be unlawful for a massage parlor to operate within Colorado Springs without a valid massage business license for each premise starting September 1. Massage licenses must be renewed yearly, and the annual fee is currently set at $110.

When it comes to sexual activities, the ordinance says it is unlawful for any massage therapist to "engage in specified sexual activities or to expose the massage therapist’s specified anatomical areas within the premises." Also, it would be considered unlawful to advertise sexual activities, prostitution, escort services, or other sexual services.

An applicant or license holder can be denied or have their license revoked/suspended if they have a prior criminal history or if they have had a license revoked/suspended in another jurisdiction.

Colorado Springs Council member Dave Donelson says the ordinance is aimed at stopping the illicit, not punishing the legitimate. 

The ordinance would not apply to the following businesses involved in massage therapy:

  • Public and private schools
  • Government entities
  • Training rooms of a recognized professional or amateur sports organizations
  • Health care professionals licensed or registered with any state to provide massage services to the public
  • Barbershops
  • Beauty salons
  • A spa or resort operated on the premises of a hotel with at least 100 rooms for overnight guests

A self-employed massage therapist operating out of their home or the client’s home would not be required to obtain the annual $110 business license. However, if the self-employed massage therapist owns a fixed location, they would be required to pay a one-time exemption fee of $50. Should they hire employees, they would be required to pay for the annual business license. 

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Dan Beedie

Dan is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about Dan here.



  1. “required to pay a one-time exemption fee of $50”
    If they are exempt, why are they still required to pay a fee?

    1. Why not simply state, However, if the self-employed m@ssage therapist owns a fixed location, they would be required to pay a one-time fee of $50. removing the word “exemption” and then adding,
      This fee is so the regulatory division that will be actively engaging in the enforcement of this ordinance will use this information to verify if the business is legitimate and not operating with more than the one authorized licensed employee. So when the enforcing agency checks the registered businesses that is expected to only have the owner as the therapist and they find someone working within that is not the owner or in addition to the owner, said business is non-compliant and will be shut down and fined for violation of said ordinance.

      1. Now the real question should be, why does this still cost $50.00 to enter this data into a database once?

  2. It’s illegal to sell se x — more importantly, to be a third party gaining from the sale of s ex. Some of these places broke that law. The law was not enforced. So what’s the answer? Another law!

  3. So essentially none of these are actual spa / physical therapy types of mas sage providers. They are ALL about selling s ex. So the government is going to say, “You can sell s ex up to this point, but no further, and in exchange for permission to do that you will pay us a fee yearly.” So, we’re all pimps now. To be fair, that’s probably not new.

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