NORFOLK, Va. - For massage therapist Michael Weber, reopening FLOW Massage & Bodywork in Norfolk isn’t about his bottom line.
“If I were motivated by the financial aspect, I would have my doors open tomorrow,” said Weber.
As the state starts to ease restrictions put in place to combat the COVID pandemic, Weber is choosing to stay closed.
“I’m not ready to reopen because of the unknowns,” he said. “Being closed in a small room for an hour or more is an unnecessary risk.”
For Soulscape Massage & Bodywork Owner Cierra Wilson, her decision to not reopen her massage therapy business Friday is a personal one. She knows someone who caught COVID-19.
“Having a first-hand experience, it terrifies me thinking that I could potentially be the cause of that happening to somebody else‘s family and my loved ones,” Wilson said.
Like Weber, Wilson is trying to stem the tide of cases.
“My number one concern is asymptomatic transmission,” said Wilson. “There is no social distancing. There is no minimizing contact in my line of work.”
While some businesses aren’t ready to reopen, Edward Johnson Salon is. Owners Glenn Hawker and Bruce Johnson said they’ve been preparing the reopening for weeks and they’re ready.
“Everyone has to go along the speed that they feel comfortable,” said Hawker. “There are no right or wrong answers in this. The right answer is to have precaution and stay safe.”
The salon on W. 20th Street in Norfolk is taking extensive precautions to keep clients safe before they even step inside.
“They’ll be taking their temperature first, and then they’ll get the questionnaire and release form,” said owner Bruce Johnson. “They’ll answer questions to make sure they haven’t been sick.”
Edward Johnson Salon will also being giving face masks to people who don’t have one and will have hand sanitizer on site. They will also space out appointments to allow time for disinfecting.
Allure by Grisseth Owner Grisseth Rezmerski is completely booked with appointments for massages, waxes and nails. The spa is located inside Edward Johnson Salon.
“We’re doing everything we can to stay safe,” said Grisseth. “We are going to be using liners for the chairs, so the clients never actually touch the bowls.”
Meanwhile, Weber is hoping to get back to work by June. For now, he’s taking a wait-and-see approach, because in the slim chance he could help spread the virus is one he’s not willing to take.
“This isn’t going to go away anytime soon,” he said. “At some point we’re all going to need to venture back out and do it with a calculated risk. Right now, I don’t feel confident with that risk.”