CHICAGO (CBS) — The pressure is on in a good, relaxing way. CBS 2 is Working For Chicago, and found a newly reopened industry that’s looking to hire: massage therapy.
Morning Insider Lauren Victory takes a look changes you can expect as a spa employee or customer.
Deep cleaning of the body and mind was already the focus at Lakeview’s Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa. Now therapists are required to pass a two-and-a-half hour “spa sanitation and illness prevention course” to avoid spreading COVID-19.
“We’re wiping every surface down with EPA-registered disinfectant,” franchise owner Jim Kasmer said.
Daily health checks, staggered appointments, required masks; the spa’s COVID-19 rules might be strict, but customers are noticing for the better.
Doors opened less than a month ago, and business is only down 25% compared to normal.
Kasmer said some employees are not ready to come back, though.
“We are hiring massage therapists, yeah,” he said.
He’s not the only spa owner looking to add to his team.
Joan Hannant, founder of the Soma Institute, said she hopes her graduates can fill the demand. She founded the Soma Institute more than 20 years ago, and hit a lot of firsts this quarantine to avoid interrupting training for hundreds.
“Our students have been doing zoom classes in all the clinical sciences courses,” she said.
Virtual learning can only go so far. Hands-on instruction is a requirement to be licensed in Illinois.
“We went out and got table covers for every table,” said Soma program director Mike Hovi. “I can’t have one student on this side and the other student on this side.”
Instructors are finalizing preparation for in-person class that begins next week. What will be different in their training?
“The first thing is, we’ll start when they first come back, we’re actually going to leave them dressed,” Hovi said. “We’ve been buying goggles for the students, and they’ll be expected to wear that anytime that the client is face up.”
A stress on safety for a stress-free experience.
Illinois allowed massage therapy clinics to reopen at 50% capacity last month, when the state moved to Phase 3 of its reopening plan. Google searches for the word “massage” have slowly but steadily increased in Illinois since May.
CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.
We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.