FORSYTH COUNTY — Concerned that illicit activity such as prostitution may be occurring behind closed doors, the Forsyth County commission is looking to crack down on spas and massage parlors.
During their meeting Thursday night, commissioners voted 5-0 to hold a public hearing Sept. 18 on proposed new licensing rules for the establishments.
“The concern is that there may be establishments that are engaging in this sort of massage and spa … that are in fact a front for other sorts of illicit activity,” said County Attorney Ken Jarrard. “This ordinance would be part of a multi-pronged effort at combatting this sort of activity.”
Sheriff Duane K. Piper said the problem is not limited to Forsyth County, but that he was aware of local businesses that would fall under the category.
“There are several investigations going on, this will help greatly,” Piper said. “There’s been an influx. Other jurisdictions are adopting tougher ordinances and permitting and licensing type of things.
“From an investigation we’ve got going on right now, a large number of them are fronts for prostitution.”
Under the change, all businesses would have to be licensed through the county, and all employees who don’t hold a license from the state would be required to have one through the county.
Under the new rules, beds would be banned, all employees would be required to be clothed and the businesses could not have anyone in the building between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
“I think legitimate purveyors of this sort of activity are not going to have a problem with this ordinance, but others may,” Jarrard said.