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'We touch people more than doctors do' | Massage therapist questions being allowed to reopen

Cynthia Schaub, a massage therapist for two decades, suggested there's no truly safe was for her to do her job and follow current regulations set by Gov. Brian Kemp.

ATLANTA — In April, Governor Brian Kemp gave massage therapists the green light to reopen statewide. But it came with a long list of restrictions.

One viewer asked how those in the profession can practice social distancing and suggests it wasn't the right call amid COVID-19.

“We don't know how we can massage safely, period,” Cynthia Schaub said.

She’s a massage therapist with two decades of experience and said she’s frustrated by Kemp who allowed her industry to reopen.

“I don't think I've ever been this angry before,” she said. “We touch people more than doctors do and how are we supposed to massage people covered in plastic?”

She thinks operating under the guidelines Gov. Kemp has laid out isn't beneficial and even jeopardizes the quality of service. The current list of Kemp’s guidelines includes:

  • Providing services by appointment only. Walk-in patrons should not be allowed.
  • Requiring all employees to wear personal protective equipment as available and appropriate
  • Sanitizing all equipment, chairs, and tables between patrons.

“I like to think that we're essential because I’m passionate and I love my work but when it comes right down to it, we're really not essential workers,” she said. “The only reason I could think of, is all I can think of, is money. No other good reason.”

Massage therapist training group Tracy Walton & Associates, in an open letter online to a few states that included Georgia, stressed the duty their industry has in protecting people:

"The bottom line: it is not yet safe to return. The preponderance of public health opinion tells us that. We are still learning some of the basics about this virus. Our first death occurred just 9 weeks ago."

Schaub agrees that clients and staff should be put first which means not rushing to reopen.

“The majority of clients who come see us have underlying problems,” Schaub said. “I feel like I'm in the twilight zone.”

Schaub said she hasn't worked since March 10 and chose not to work even though she's allowed to. She said she's not sure when she'll start up again.

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