Massage therapist shares experience returning to job that doesn't social distance

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 23:49:52-04

DELAFIELD — When your business is all about being hands-on, social distancing is out of the question. Massage therapist Shauntiana Lepak was worried about what getting back on the job would look like.

"We didn't know if there was really a way to keep us safe," Lepak said.

"I was really hesitant when I first started. I had a whole list of questions that I wrote out for my employer, I was that concerned," she continued.

Her employer, Massage Envy, in Delafield added policies to keep customers and the staff safe.

"We put our clients in masks, we wear masks, we were given the option of whether or not we want to wear gloves," said Lepak, who also owns her private practice in Oconomowoc.

"I've had to literally remind people throughout their sessions. I've heard from some of my co-workers that clients were intentionally breaking their masks during sessions to not have to wear one," she said.

"I would rather see us implement those policies and then continue to massage rather than have it destroy my industry."

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporations' Secretary and CEO, Missy Hughes, encourages businesses and employees to get guidance from or to call the agency for advice.

For close contact jobs like hairstylists and massage therapists, the website offers recommendations like limiting the number of clients in your shop and checking them in from their cars outside. The guidance also recommends sanitizing surfaces. The use of masks is encouraged.

"We're not in a position to be standing up regulations and to be enforcing regulations," said Hughes.
"It's something that businesses can use to really be thoughtful about what they're doing," she explained.
"It certainly shows that you're making every effort to think of your customers' safety, your community's safety, and your employees' safety," Hughes said.
Hughes explained if you put a safety policy in place and customers don't follow it, a private business can refuse its services.

"Businesses will often have signs that say "no shirts, no shoes, no service" so this is essentially the same thing," Hughes said.

Click here to review a checklist WEDC has compiled for personal service businesses specifically to see if they are safely reopening.

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