It’s June 2020 and our industry is still unable to practice, due to the pandemic. We are receiving some hints as to when our businesses may reopen, but we’re not completely sure which criteria we fit into. We know it’s dependant on the rate of infection remaining stable and that the issue is the amount of time we spend in close proximity to another person.
Despite this, we’ve been working in the background, planning our comeback. I will honestly say that some of the fear mongering about what may need to be done seriously made me question if I could continue with my profession. Instead, I took a step back, took a deep breath and started planning.
The first step was to identify all possible risks within the clinic. Starting in reception, we have removed the items for sale and there are now only a few items which remain in the glass cabinet. I’ve changed the fabric chairs for the ones we used to use, as these can be wiped down between clients. I’ve also removed everything from the reception desk – the sign you see in the picture is one to tell you my temperature for the day.
If you love a mint and quotation after your session, don’t panic, we can still offer you one. I will put one of each in a bowl for you to pick out and can then disinfect it afterwards. If you need a pen you can still ask us for one – again, we just need to clean it afterwards. We have kept the leaflets in the display but there is a notice for you to ask for a leaflet, rather than selecting them yourself. I’ve already thought about this and will take one from the back of the display, as I am assuming any virus particles are more likely to land at the front. The table has been completely cleaned, and all boxes of tissues have been swapped for individual small packets, which you can open and take home with you.
In each room we have had to remove all soft furnishings, including blankets and cushions, which may be touched. In both rooms I’ve removed the heated blanket and added a pvc cover to the couch below the usual couch cover and sheet I use. All blankets and towels I don’t need for the session are being stored in plastic boxes. I have bought a new pvc pillow and bolster, so I can wipe them with a disinfectant after every client.
A big issue was air quality, as I am unable to open windows to air the rooms. After some research and a steep learning curve, I decided to invest in an air purifier with a uvc light inside, which I will leave on low during your session. This should help the air quality in the room and I’ve read that uvc light is effective at killing the majority of virus particles. For reflexology, I am no longer able to use the big fluffy blanket, but I have got several thinner blankets on order, which I can wash after every client. I have also removed all door hangers from the back of the doors, and for massage, I have plastic boxes for you to place your clothes in, and which can then be cleaned after the session.
In the bathroom I have removed the reusable cloths we introduced and we have returned to using disposable paper towels. If the bathroom is used, I will need to clean it before the next client and I am allowing half an hour between clients to allow for thorough cleaning of the couch, safe removal of the towels and coverings, cleaning door handles, chairs, reception desk – anything which may have been contaminated. In the corridor I have several trolleys which I use to store items I commonly use and I have discovered a greenhouse cover fits over these, so can be wiped down. I have also invested in a steam cleaner for the clinic, in case there are areas I don’t feel I can reach and clean properly by hand. I’ve even ordered larger laundry bags, so I won’t need to touch the used towels and coverings as much as previously.
Personally, I have ordered tabards I can change after every client, cloth face masks I can change after every client and I have a non-contact thermometer in case it is needed. I do have gloves, but will wait for guidance on whether they need to be used. Regular visitors will know that we usually allow time between your departure and the next arrival, so our only change will be asking you to wait until the door is open or we text you to say we’re ready. We have hand sanitizer for use on arrival and departure and will be encouraging clients to pay by bank transfer. We will still have the card machine and it will be disinfected whenever it is used. If you need to pay cash, let us know in advance so we can leave an envelope for you to place the money in it.
Some things have changed little and I will still offer a new glass of water to every client. The differences are I cannot pre-fill the jug and the cups are now being kept in a plastic sealed box. As usual, I won’t touch the top of the cup and they will be put in a bag to be taken home to be put in the dishwasher.
I’ve completed a COVID-19 risk assessment in conjunction with my standard risk assessment, so have made sure we have the necessary paper trail. I’ll be making sure that during an aromatherapy consultation people do not touch my aromatherapy bottles and I’m making sure I’ll only have the minimum equipment needed in the room for my reflexology sessions. My membership bodies are talking about sending out a checklist assessment to clients before an appointment; while I know my clients will not risk coming to the clinic if they do have any symptoms, this is something I will need to implement if advised. Currently, I do not know if it will be expected for clients to wear facemasks and this is another aspect we expect further guidance about.
While it has seemed rather overwhelming to prepare the space, I’ve been relieved to have the time to think about how to do things properly and to find solutions for things I knew were a potential risk. While you may find the clinic sparse, I hope you will still enjoy a warm welcome when you are finally able to visit again. If, during your visit, you think I’ve missed something, let me know! Wishing you and all your families continued safety during these times, and I hope to be able to welcome you to the clinic again soon.
Louise is an holistic therapist who owns Therapy Centre, BS14 9HB, a clinic offering a range of holistic and beauty therapies. Louise offers aromatherapy, reflexology, holistic massage, baby massage, reiki and story massage. She is a mum of two boys and when she is not working she enjoys getting outdoors with her family. For further information, visit her website louise-morgan.co.uk