The consensus from the venues that we talked to is that a notice was circulated in the past month, targeting spas and massage parlors in Xuhui and Jing'an district. Who sent the notice and what exactly it dictates, other than the same-sex directive, are, as they always are in this type of situation, frustratingly vague. The effect has ranged from the shuttering of some branches of chains popular with the foreign crowd to really nothing at all at other established chains. One massage parlor we talked to in Putuo said that even they received the notice last month, but the enforcement has been strongest in downtown. What could possibly go on in a massage parlor to make it dodgy? Oh..... that. Well, certainly no one you know could ever possibly engage in... Anyway, expect the crackdown to last for about a month, the parlors say, though the chatter on Weibo suggests this may be permanent. 2019 — a knotty year indeed.
Crackdown! This is Why You Can't Get a Massage
Those of you with aching backs and sore feet may have found this out already: it's becoming increasingly hard to get a massage in downtown Shanghai. Even if you are able to find a place offering legitimate body massages (increasingly difficult) or even just a foot massage, the odds are high you will only be served by a masseuse of the same sex as you. What's going on? We called 10 massage parlors around the city to find out.