Massage outlets hoping to reopen


Yeoh checking out her Japanese green tea package before it was collected by a customer in George Town. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

WHILE business operators understand the need for movement restrictions to break the chain of Covid-19 infections, they feel that customised standard operating procedures (SOP) can be introduced for the different industries to continue functioning.

Reflexology massage outlet owner Loke Thiam Hua, 53, who has been in the business for more than 30 years, said some of his regular customers have underlying medical conditions.

“Some are senior citizens and middle-aged working class people who need their massage sessions at least twice a month.

“They have medical problems and some come for a good leg massage which can improve blood circulation and cure problems such as insomnia and indigestion.

“Many of them do not want to depend on medication.

“Some of them called me and requested for the masseur to go to their homes for a massage session.

“They told me that they are in pain and this has taken a toll on their mental health, ” he said.

Loke said with the emerging clusters and increasing number of cases, he fully understood that certain businesses would have to be restricted.

“Massage parlours should be given the permission to operate under customised and strict SOP.

“Foot massage business should be allowed to operate as customers and masseurs can keep a safe distance during the sessions.

“There will be at least one-metre distance between the customer and masseur during foot reflexology sessions as the customer is seated away from the masseur.

“To ensure the safety and health of both the masseur and customer, only leg massages should be allowed and not head or full body massage which require close body contact.

“We are also willing to work on appointment basis so that there will not be overcrowding, ” he said.

Although the movement control order is disrupting her business, Charmaine Yeoh, 35, a product adviser, is grateful that her children, aged six and nine, are safe at home.

“If the number of positive Covid-19 cases falls below 1, 000 a day, I think the SOP should be relaxed.

“With the current number of cases above 5, 000 daily, I am hoping that my children would not have to go to school.

“However, my Japanese green tea business has suffered with a 50% drop in sales.

“Before the Covid-19 outbreak, I used to set up tasting booths at pharmacies and organic shops occasionally.

“Now, I cannot do any public sampling promotion and it is hard for me to sell my products.

“To generate more income, I have to transform my business model by delivering the products to customers via courier service or home delivery, ” she said.

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