So the short update I have for you all is that I have decided to close my massage therapy practice temporarily at least through the end of April due to COVID-19. I will reevaluate weekly and have currently closed online booking. Because, frankly, massage isn’t safe right now.
I’m working on contacting my clients individually regarding their appointments on the books, and have shut down my online scheduling. I have to believe that the President declaring a national emergency, Florida shutting down schools, and Disney, and our nation’s sports, etc… Those, plus the recommendations of the CDC involving how best to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the infrastructure of the healthcare industry and supplies all mean that it’s time for me to do this. Social distancing is a vital part of this.
Here’s why: This virus is contagious even as the carrier is asymptomatic.
So “Don’t come in if you are sick” isn’t particularly helpful in this situation. Once someone actually feels sick, we’re 1-14 days too late.
These are strange and scary times. I do this work to keep people healthy and safe in their bodies. It’s my responsibility to not do this work if it puts their health and safety in jeopardy: there have been no firm rules from governing associations or the Florida Department of Health, but I know I need to step up for my clients and community.
I don’t want to give referrals to other massage therapists during this time, because if I thought it was a good idea to get massage, I’d be DOING massage. I suggest stretching, strengthening your core muscles, and trying yoga… from home.
Let me anticipate some questions:
Q: Other massage therapists and aestheticians work out of your office. Does this apply to them?
No, it doesn’t. The office is a home to several distinct and separate businesses, and they will each make decisions based on what they think is best. I’m doing what I think is best overall, even though it might be hard for me personally.
Q: Are you sick? Have you been exposed?
No, I’m not sick, and to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t had an exposure. But I touch people for a living, and I don’t have an accurate picture (nor could I) of the amount of exposure and community spread that is possibly going on behind the scenes.
Q: Are you out of supplies? Can I just bring in some Clorox wipes and TP?
All set for supplies, and the cleaning procedures are only part of what we all can and should be doing. Trying to limit exposure to others is another part – and I can’t telecommute a massage.
Q: But couldn’t massage reduce anxiety some right now?
Not if either one of us is wondering the whole time if it’s safe. The way I see it, people are struggling and conflicted with determining what is safe and what is not safe right now. I do not want to contribute to that struggle and conflict…there’s enough of that going around. So I am taking the decision related to their massage sessions out of the equation. I’m opening up space for them to mull over and get comfy with other more important decisions they need to make right now.
Q: But what if your client isn’t in a high risk group?
They might not be, but the people they see could be. They could have immuno-compromised kids or elderly parents they are caring for. Their loved ones could be. And I come into contact almost daily in my home life with people who are in high risk groups, and since this affects the lungs I have a personal cause for concern as well. Not only that, I have become aware of LOTS of folks I know in the high risk group that I didn’t know were high risk before. Because we LOOK healthy.
Q: How can you afford to do this? Are you secretly very wealthy?
No, I’m not secretly a billionaire, and I will be okay for a while because of savings – but I’m taking a personal hit here, so please don’t think I’m doing this lightly. I’m not trying to spread panic or overhype anything – but I’m also trying not to waste the time that we’ve been given by the cancellations of public gatherings. I like this article about how this ISN’T a snow day.
I hope it looks like this was never necessary, because that says great things for the country and the health of us all.
I’ll be in touch about my anticipated reopening date as soon as I can. Thanks for your understanding and be well through troubled times.