Sheer relief for masseur


Customers donning face masks while masseurs wear masks, face shields and gloves at the centre. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

A REFLEXOLOGY centre owner in Penang is happy he can finally reopen after more than three months.

Loke Thiam Hua, 52, who has been in the business for more than 30 years, said his workers followed the standard operating procedure including wearing face mask, face shield and gloves when massaging customers.

“Only locals are allowed to work here and each session is limited to an hour, ” he said at his centre in Pulau Tikus on Monday.

“To ensure the safety and health of my employees, we allow leg and shoulder massages only.

“We do not offer massages that require close body contact such as head and full body massage.

“Although we need to bear the additional cost due to the one-time use of gloves and face masks, our charges remain the same.

“We will put customers aged 60 and above in a bigger room for better social distancing since they are in the high-risk group.

Loke massaging a customer’s feet after taking safety precautions.Loke massaging a customer’s feet after taking safety precautions.

“We encourage senior citizens to come early between 9.30am and 11am as there are usually fewer customers in the morning.”

Loke added that business has been brisk since they reopened on July 2.

“Most of our customers are regulars who called to make bookings before coming.

“Since only local masseurs are allowed for now, we are low in manpower. Only five of us are working.

“A few employees left as they did not have income for the past few months.

“We are able to take in about 30 customers a day, ” he said.

His customers are required to register themselves manually or by scanning the PGCare QR code.

“We encourage customers to use hand sanitiser before and after the session.

“They are encouraged to put on their masks throughout the session and not talk to the masseurs.

“If their temperature is above 37.5 degree Celsius, we will ask them to consult a doctor immediately.

A worker covering the top of a massage chair with a plastic wrap as a health measure. A worker covering the top of a massage chair with a plastic wrap as a health measure.

“We will place a disposable plastic wrap over the massage chairs as a precautionary measure.

“After a customer leaves, we will disinfect the seat and place a new plastic sheet, ” he said.

Loke noted that seven reflexology centres in George Town were forced to close down as they were unable to sustain operations due to the movement control order (MCO).

Spas as well as wellness and reflexology centres were allowed to resume operations from July 1.

However, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the centres could open for business with only Malaysian staff allowed to work.

“The SOP must be strictly followed, ” he said at a press conference recently.

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