When Massage Businesses in North Carolina can Re-open post COVID-19 Shutdown

You’re probably wondering what’s going on in the world of massage, specifically in the smaller world of Metamorphic Massage for Women.  We really miss being able to help our clients!  It’s especially challenging right now, in that this historically is “baby season” in the office.  Usually, from May through September, our schedules can be around 60% prenatal massage.  That’s a lot of mammas coming through the door!

It pains me to not be able to help them and the many other women who use massage to manage their discomforts.  I was just talking with a client the other day who is recovering from a surgery.  I’ve assisted her through several post-surgery rehabs, and she said this one is going much slower than the others, without her adjunct therapies of massage and acupressure.  And this is just one person.

But as you probably know, Governor Cooper announced that beginning May 8, the guidelines will be relaxed as far as what we are able to expect as far as what types of businesses and activities will be open. Massage therapy establishments will possibly be part of Phase 2, which means the earliest we will be able to see clients will be the end of May.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the last week learning about increasing sanitation and safety guidelines.  I’ve sat in on a few discussions with therapists throughout the country, trying to figure out the best course for moving forward.  I am learning more about OSHA, the CDC, and the EPA than I ever thought was necessary for someone in my line of work.   I’ve read the guidelines put out by John Hopkins University, for governors for who are looking to begin re-opening their states. The information available is endless.  Good thing I have a lot of time on my hands!

I’ve gone down many rabbit holes, all while figuring out exactly what types of supplies, equipment, and protocol I will need to have in place when we re-open, to keep clients and staff safe.  As of this writing, I have not yet been able to fully garner the supplies I anticipate needing to work safely.  I’ve been busy reading all I can about the safety protocols other states are requiring, and am using those as a guideline, since North Carolina has not published anything yet.  I am taking extra precautions, as well, given there are so many pregnant women and folks with underlying issues coming through our space. Many items have been ordered, including HEPA air purifiers that filter down to 0.1 microns (which, by the way, are not easy to find for smaller spaces).

There will be major changes, most of which I hope we will be able to relax as time moves on.  It’s challenging, frustrating, and at times overwhelming, but I am going to do everything in my power to re-open in the safest manner possible.

You may have heard that there are some massage businesses that are open, after applying to become deemed essential businesses, thinking a letter from the Department of Revenue gives them permission to give clients massage. It doesn’t…the letter clearly states that if you cannot operate in accordance with the social distancing requirements, you must stay closed.  Because of this. Even with the letter, they’re still operating illegally. As licensed therapists, we are ethically supposed to follow the mandates by the governor.  I also shudder with the knowledge that these businesses are operating without full safety and sanitation measures in place.

I will not re-open until I have every necessary precautionary measure in place, and the governor and medical professionals agree it is safe to do so.  And when that day comes, I will be celebrating…because I miss our clients!