The COVID Diaries – Reopening the Practice

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Therapist Anne-Marie reopens her business under the new tier system

We catch up with Anne-Marie as she welcomes clients back to her clinic and copes with all the changes COVID-19 has brought upon her business.

Tuesday 1st December

Just one more day to go before the clinic is due to reopen. Today I do a massage treatment on a member of the household to ensure that everything goes to plan on Thursday, as it’s been a month since I last provided treatments to clients. All goes well and I am really looking forward to welcoming my clients back for their sessions on Thursday. 

I have also had more enquiries about massage sessions this week, but my clinic is currently full. I decide to offer Saturday appointments too, in order to fulfil all enquiries. The combination of doing treatments again, receiving booking enquiries and coming out of the lockdown lifts my spirits. I feel more positive about the coming weeks leading up to Christmas.

Thursday 3rd December

My clinic reopens today! I feel a mixture of excitement and nerves – the stop-start nature of this year has meant that the normal flow of running the clinic hasn’t been smooth. I’m just grateful to be seeing clients again and working in a role that I love. Will report back tomorrow on how the first couple of sessions went! 

In other news, the R rate has also gone down in the area that I live in, although we are still in Tier 2 High Alert.

Friday 4th December

Yesterday it went well, however I hadn’t realised that my first client had ticked “no” to wearing a face covering for her session. A member of my household is in the clinically vulnerable group for COVID, and as the clinic is in my house, I don’t feel comfortable with any client not wearing a face covering. Fortunately, the client agreed to wear one of the blue IIR masks and the appointment went ahead as normal. I updated my COVID Screening Form to state that face masks are mandatory – I regrettably won’t be able to do the treatment if a client doesn’t wear one. Anyway, the treatment went well and it was wonderful to be back massaging! 

I had the heating on, the room was warm cosy with blankets on the couch. With the client’s agreement, the windows were kept open a few inches so there was some fresh air circulating. When the client left I reset the room, transferring everything on the couch to the laundry basket. I cleaned the room and all touchpoints up to it, and changed my top ready for the next client. I repeat this process after the next client! Being back in the swing of things feels good! 

News that the COVID-19 vaccine is going to be rolled out in care homes from next Tuesday brings much excitement. It feels like there is light at the end of the long tunnel. I receive an email informing me that cases in my area have halved over the last 7 days. All great news, but we are not out of the woods yet. I think we have many months of the virus ahead.

Monday 7th December

Start of a new week! I saw clients over the weekend, as I had opened up my clinic especially for two visitors to Bath who were wanting massages. They had found my details on Google. It was lovely to do the session on a Saturday and be in demand. 

I receive an email from today’s client wanting to reschedule as she didn’t feel comfortable coming from a Tier 3 area to a Tier 2 area so we agreed to postpone the session. All these new restrictions do make it so much harder to actually work!

Tuesday 8th December

The vaccination programme begins to roll out today. A 90 year old lady is the first to get the vaccine. I see my first client of the day and do some wonderfully relaxing reflexology. As usual, I clean and set up the room ready for the next client. I am already in a natural routine of appointments, seeing regular clients, laundry, cleaning and paperwork. It feels wonderful to be working again after what has been a very difficult year.

Friday 11th December

It has been announced that the self-isolation period will fall from 14 days to 10 days from Monday, as people are more contagious when they first develop symptoms.

Monday 14th December

After a relaxing weekend, the beginning of another week, this week is full with clients booked in each day which is good on the run up to Christmas. I put a few Christmas decorations up – a Christmas wreath and hat and a few baubles. This time last year, was so different, looking forward to the run up to Christmas, going Christmas shopping, making plans to see family and friends, with none of the restrictions that are currently in place now. Who would have thought that in just one year so much would have changed?

It is announced that from Wednesday certain areas will change from Tier 2 to Tier 3 to include Greater London. A new variant of coronavirus has been identified “1,000 cases with this variant, predominantly in the South of England although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas and numbers are increasing rapidly”.

Tuesday 15th December

Just hearing on the news that UK rules for Christmas gatherings may be reviewed as COVID cases surge. There is going to be a meeting later today, there is concern that if people meet at Christmas, the NHS will be overwhelmed in January.

Also that people are being urged to switch to reusable face coverings. Outside of my clinic I have some lovely face coverings, but in the clinic I have to wear the IIR mask. I am going to research to see if there is anything that is better for the environment. I did ask in one of my massage Facebook groups to see what other therapists are doing as I haven’t found a more environmentally friendly IIR mask yet.

Thursday 17th December

Today the government are reviewing the local restriction tiers. My area remains in Tier 2 and a neighbouring area is downgraded to Tier 2 from Tier 3, which is good news.

Friday 18th December

Today is my last day before I finish for the Christmas break. It has been a challenging year but I have got this far and next year will hopefully be a fresh start. Thank you for following my journey – it has certainly been eventful! I wish you a relaxing Christmas break and a happy and healthy 2021.

As we follow Anne-Marie’s journey navigating her practice through COVID-19, we would love to hear your stories, too!

Can you relate to Anne-Marie’s experience? Have you felt overwhelmed by the information available? What have you struggled with? Please share in the comments and please sign up to become a member of PPH to receive industry news and updates.

We would like to stress that all information given in our COVID series is not exhaustive and while we have tried to ensure that the information provided in this document is accurate, PPH cannot be held liable for any errors or omissions. The COVID situation is constantly evolving and the information is changing on a daily basis. We urge you to closely follow your government, professional association and insurance company’s latest guidelines and updates, taking precedence over any recommendations communicated by PPH.