By Justin Seward
Redcliff’s True North Massage Therapy owner Jen North described Dec. 8th’s announcement of massage therapy businesses being included in the second shutdown closures for four weeks as a result of the increase in COVID-19 cases across the provinces as an “immediate flood of fearful déjà vu.”
“In the matter of seconds my livelihood had an expiry date, again,” said North, who is a self-employed massage therapist.
“A temporary one, a shorter one, but one nonetheless. This second lock down means four weeks of no income and of no real help. As a self-employed massage therapist working from home, I fall through the cracks. I am too small to qualify for any of the grant funding or other financial relief programs out there to offset the cost of ensuring my business is meeting the standards of cleaning, personal protection, client health and so on.”
North says she is expected to still follow the mandates that others are and this still comes out of the pocket after having no income.
Her hope is the second shutdown will be easier to overcome.
“For the first shut down I was closed with no business income for three-and-a-half months,” she said.
“This time should be a little easier to weather if it’s only for four weeks. But four weeks with no income right at Christmas will be tough. I can’t even try to adapt and find other income streams.”
She has to see her business come to an immediate halt compared to other industries.
“For businesses like myself, it’s not just a reduced work load or clientele, limited store hours or capacity-it’s a 100 per cent stop. Overnight, the revenue stream is dry.”
For North, this means her clients are left without her services.
“This also means my clients are without,” she said.
“I am in the midst of treating three different clients from motor vehicle accidents. Stopping treatment is detrimental to their recovery. My clients rely on, count on, and depend on our time together-not only their physical health, but their mental health as well. This shutdown will be just as hard on them as it will be for me-just for different reasons.”
She has been through two shutdowns now and hasn’t had time to think about future plans as the recovery process from the first shutdown is being felt.
“I guess for me and my business, I have learned that now more than ever massage needs to be regulated in Alberta,” she said.
“So we can be more in alignment with chiropractic and physiotherapy- we are an essential to those who use us.”