It has been three very long, stressful months. I don’t know about you, but I have spent the majority of the time at home. I’ve been obsessively reading the news, learning all I can about COVID-19, disinfection, sanitation, and how to perform massage and reduce the risk of becoming infected and spreading the virus to others.
I’ve spent hours scouring the internet for items I need to reopen the doors of my business. I’ve also run around town chasing leads on things that will work in the office (no harsh chemicals or strong artificial scents can be used on a regular basis due to respiratory issues).
What’s on that list?
Different covers for the massage tables, face cradles, and pillows for disinfection protocol.
-Step-open trash cans in the treatment rooms.
-Medical grade HEPA air purifiers for every room.
-Covered toilet paper and paper towel dispensers.
-Automatic soap dispensers.
-Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers.
-Bins for clients to store their shoes, and other personal items.
(shoes will be taken off upon arrival, and clean footie socks will be given to each client for use while in the office, which will be washed and disinfected between clients.)
-EPA approved cleaning supplies to disinfect every touchable surface (no harsh chemical or artificial scents)
-Hand sanitizer in large quantities
-Face shields, goggles, nitrile and KN95s for therapists.
-Nitrile gloves for therapists to use as needed.
-Disposable procedure masks for clients who forget their mask.
-Aprons to be switched out after every client.
-Forehead thermometer and oximeter.
-New dirty laundry storage.
Because the types of supplies I need to run the business in the safest manner possible are in high demand, a lot of items I ordered in early April are just arriving now. I resorted to playing the game of purchasing from a few different sources, with the intent of cancelling the ones that don’t. Of course, a few repeat items shipped the same day, but fortunately, these are supplies that will get used up.
This entire time I have been monitoring the reports coming out from the state and federal governments in regard to statistics. Sadly, they have never gone in the direction I was hoping to see by now. With the news yesterday of the second highest number of new daily cases, I am not comfortable reopening at this time.
There are too many unknowns with this virus. A recent study suggests that the virus stays is airborne for up to 16 hours, and aerosol transmission is more important than previously thought. Even with the HEPA air filters I purchased, because the air in the treatment rooms becomes very stifling during a massage, there is a chance that if someone comes in who is asymptomatic, the virus would linger in the air…while very helpful, masks are not 100% effective in controlling it.
The current percentage of positive tests in North Carolina has been hovering about 9% since the end of May. Leading health organizations suggest a 5% or less positive rate for 2 weeks before governments reopen their jurisdictions. We are far from there at this point.
Then there are the health concerns:
-Approximately 60% of Americans have an underlying health issue that puts them at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
-Pregnant women are normally more susceptible to problems that affect the lungs. They are more at risk for developing severe symptoms if they contract the virus, are more likely to require hospitalization, and there may be an increased risk of negative pregnancy outcomes.
-Articles discussing the risk levels of different professions puts massage therapists at a 50-60% chance of contracting the virus. People with Type A blood are at higher risk of developing severe respiratory issues if the contract the virus. I have Type A blood and a 50-year history of respiratory issues. Given my luck with health issues in the past year, these two facts combined make a bit nervous.
I hate this. I so want to reopen, but at the same time, I am not going to push it and risk the health and safety of my clients, staff, and myself. And so, Metamorphic Massage for Women remains closed for now. I miss you all dearly…many of you have been seeing me so long, you are like friends and family to me.
Want to see us reopen soon? Wear a mask, practice physical distancing, follow the guidelines set by leading health organizations, avoid groups of people who refuse to follow the guidelines, and encourage everyone you know to do the same,. Remember: We are doing this not only for ourselves, but the community at large.