COVID-19 Office Protocols

As I start to reopen my practice, there are some new protocols. Infection control has always been a top priority for our establishment, and you may have seen this during your visits to the office and in the changes we made in March before closing. Our establishment, and my business, follows infection control recommendations made by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.

You will see some changes when it is time for your next appointment.WE MADE THESE CHANGES TO HELP PROTECT OUR CLIENTS AND ALL OFFICE PARTNERS:

The day before your appointment, you will be required to electronically fill out this COVID-19 intake form, answer all it’s screening questions, and sign it’s liability and disclaimer, and payment and cancellation policies in order to be seen the following day for your appointment. If you’re unable to do this electronically, I will ask you the questions over that phone and read to you the disclaimers, and you can sign in person. This will need to be done before each appointment until further notice.

• We will be doing parking lot check in. Please stay in your car until your appointment time. The front door will be locked at all times to prevent walk-ins and to prevent individuals from waiting in the waiting room. Please provide me with your cell phone number on your COVID-19 screening intake form, and you will be texted when it is time to come to the front door for your appointment.

• Limit extra companions at your visits to the office – no friends, significant others, or children will be allowed in the office during your visits. Please make arrangements for this as we need to limit the number of people in the office at any one time. Companions are welcome to wait for you in your car during your visit. Only guardians of minors will be allowed in the office.

• Please leave all unnecessary belongings at home or locked in the trunk of your car. This includes purses and bags. Please try to limit your belongings to your keys and a form of payment only. Once in my office, you will be instructed to leave these items in a container that I can disinfect after your treatment. 

• You will see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.

• Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between clients. I will only be seeing two clients per day to allow for the required cleaning and disinfecting and proper air purification and ventilation between clients. This cuts my monthly availability and income in half. This means that you will be offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment. Please be patient with me and understand that I will try to do the best I possibly can to accommodate everyone. I had rescheduled appointments from the end of March and April to May, and then those were cancelled. I kept a list of the order in which those appointments were on my schedule book, and I will be calling you to reschedule, when I decide it’s time to reopen, in the order in which those appointments appeared on my schedule in May. In order to allow everyone an opportunity to have a massage appointment who hasn’t had one since March, I will work my way through those appointments that were already booked before booking any new appointments. This will probably take two months due to limited availability. I have disabled online appointment scheduling at this time. 

• As soon as you enter the establishment for your appointment, you will be directed to the bathroom to wash your hands according to the posted hand washing protocols that are in the bathroom. Hand sanitizer will also be available in my office. 

• Your temperature and pulse oxygen will be taken. A temperature of over 100.4 and a pulse oxygen below 90 will be denied service. Temperature and low pulse oxygen are among two early warning signs of the COVID-19 virus. Any temperature above 98.6 and below 100.4 will be taken into consideration with the screening questions. 

• You will be required to bring your own mask (hand made is fine) to wear upon entering the building. If you do not have a mask and refuse to purchase one, a disposable mask will be provided for you to wear or else you will be denied service. The mask will need to be left on during the entire massage and until you have exited the building. If you have trouble breathing with the mask on while face down on the massage table, you may turn your head to either side on the table or I can work on you side-lying or face up only. I will also be wearing a mask as well as goggles, and I will be completely changing my clothes after each client. If you are unable to breathe in a mask or do not wish to wear one at all, please consider refraining from massage at this time, and I hope you will return in the future when masks are no longer included in the guidelines provided by FSMTB, CDC, and OSHA. 

• You will be asked to place your belongings and clothes in the designated sanitary bin provided in my office. It will be disinfected after you leave.

• The chair in my office will be covered with a plastic cover to allow for disinfection between each appointment. The massage table and heated table pad will be covered with a fitted plastic covering that can be disinfected between each appointment. The sheets will be on top of this plastic covering. All pillows will also have a plastic covering that can also be disinfected between each appointment. Pillow cases will not be used. I will no longer be using the thick sheep’s wool padded face cradle cover that was underneath the face cradle covering that got changed after each appointment. I also will no longer be using the heating pad on the back that I used over the sheets. These cannot be disinfected to current standards between appointments. All sheets, face cradle covers, and blankets will continue to be changed after each client, as always, and washed in hot water with detergent and dried on the hot dryer cycle. Hot water and a hot dry cycle are effective enough washing practices  to kill the virus on these materials. 

• I will continue to use hot towels on the feet (not the face) as they are always washed and disinfected after each use. The hot towel cabbie will be thoroughly disinfected after each appointment.

• I will only offer neck and shoulder massage face down (not face up) to limit the amount of time spent with my face near yours which subjects both of us to potential aerosols.

• EPA-registered chemical disinfectants specific for use against SARS-CoV-2 will be used for routine cleaning and disinfecting of all office and establishment spaces between appointments. Homemade cleaning products (e.g., vinegar and essential oils), while more natural, are not approved cleaning agents or disinfectants to fight COVID-19 and will not be used. 

• I have had a lot of requests for in-home outcall massages. I will not be offering any outcall massages as it’s impossible for me to confidently maintain FSMTB, CDC, and OSHA guidelines in another’s home. The massage associations also advise against outcalls at this time. All clients will have to come to my office to receive massage from me.

• Finally, contactless payment will be implemented in my business. Many of you purchased gift certificates that will be used for payment. For those of you who didn’t, I will electronically invoice you via Square before your appointment or take a credit card or debit number over the phone prior to your appointment. I am trying to limit cash and check transactions for safety. 

The above protocols are requirements to practice safely in our establishment. If you’re looking for ways to protect yourself and your loved ones before your appointment and in between appointments, check out the CDCwebsite. Feel free to also refer to the FSMTB and OSHA guidelines for practicing during COVID-19 on which these protocols are based. 

Thank you for your understanding and your patience. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Leave a Reply