Waitsfield massage therapist Sally Kendall, after a lot of thought, reopened her sole proprietor business.
Kendall said that in her profession there was no clear concensus on how massage therapists should proceed during the COVID-19.
“In the conversation nationally, some therapists think one should wear gloves and a face shield while giving massage, some have closed their businesses for good. Others think we should never have been closed. At any rate, I put a lot of thought into what makes sense from a health standpoint, given the information I had, and reopened on June 1, when Governor Scott okayed close-contact businesses to reopen,” Kendall said.
She is not wearing gloves or a face shield, but she and her clients are wearing masks. She is using an air purifier with a true HEPA 13 filter rated to filter the air of virus particles. She removed everything in her massage room that could not be easily disinfected and she’s wiping things down with a bleach solution beteween sessions.
Additionlly, she is changing her time between sessions and has a tent where she’s offering outside massages as well.
“I heard advice early on to think of one's exposure to possible SARS-CoV-2 as a budget, given that you need a threshold of exposure to develop COVID-19. If I'm going to be in close physical proximity to someone for an hour or 90 minutes, I'd blow my exposure budget if I saw a lot of clients in one day. Thus, I'm not taking as many appointments in a day as I did in pre-COVID times,” she explained.
Kendall said she was heartened by Vermont’s low COVID-19 numbers and said she wants to continue working. She said she was grateful to Vermont and the federal government for providing unemployment benefits for self-employed people. She acknowledged that while she could make more money on unemployment, “The value I feel in working with our community is overwhelming. I feel so much better working with my friends and neighbors than watching from the sidelines.”
“It's especially gratifying to help people let go of the stress they've been carrying, to come back into their bodies and remember the peace that's under the stormy surface. Also, reconnecting with existing clients has been a joy for me beyond words!” she said.
“I think often about whether or not I've made the right decision, especially when I hear of other businesses staying closed, but each of us has different circumstances. I might have to close again if we have a surge in new cases. I'll keep listening to the governor's press conferences and keep watching the case numbers. In normal times, I work sporadically with other therapists and look forward to working with my besties when they and our various work environments come back online. (Hang in there, lodging!),” she added.