A Message from The Boston Bodyworker
When the pandemic closed the doors to The Boston Bodyworker back in March, I estimated that if we hadn’t reopened by October 1st, I would need to either pivot or perish. Today, I am saddened to announce that on October 5, only days after our 21st birthday, I made the difficult decision to permanently close the flagship location of The Boston Bodyworker in Copley Square (26.3). After a grueling 7 months of uncertainty (and losses), I was forced to make some tough choices to save us from going out of business completely. Given the overheads and public safety requirements to effectually provide our services, I determined that the practice was unsustainable in a space of that size and in its location.
This spot was everything I dreamed of when I started this journey in Downtown Crossing, in a small room at the rear of a spin studio with just three walls (true story). I estimate we have provided well over 200K massages, witnessed 12 World Championship parades (that’s just ridiculous), 20 Boston Marathons, helped raised over $450K for marathon bombing victims and survivors (@onerunforbostonalum), and helped the Boston community #feelbetter. We will miss this neighborhood so much. But this is not the end for the Boston Bodyworker. It is the beginning of our next chapter.
Opportunely, our other location inside The Seaport Hotel is well-suited to weather the COVID storm and will become our new headquarters. In working closely with the hotel, we are creating a safe and accessible environment for our guests. Among the many public health concerns that can be confronted in this location, we will also provide FREE parking just steps from our doors! Learn more
We have been preparing our Seaport Hotel location as we prudently begin to reopen this month. Although we are witnessing a rise in the infectious rate, we are optimistic that if we continue to proceed cautiously, we will be OK. I am inspired by recent national events and encouraged by the kindness so many people have shown me and my team. I am grateful and blessed to have furloughed employees who have remained charged and eager to get back to work. From the start of this, my message to my employees as well as my own children has been the same; “We will be OK”. After doing this for half my life, I embrace the sense to absorb a few punches, size up my opponent, take a deep breath, and get back up! Here we go again. (cue Whitesnake)
Over these 20+ years, I have seen my business through recessions, terrorist attacks, burglary, litigations, and now, a pandemic. Despite any of these obstacles in my rearview or ahead of me, it’s the lessons I carry forward from these experiences that will provide me with the wisdom and strength I need to overcome this next challenge. One of my most treasured expressions is, “Life is a cruel teacher, she tests you first and the lessons come later.” I REALLY hope she’s running out of lessons for me. Nevertheless, I remain open and accepting to this next test and look forward to the new lessons I will learn.
As I approach my 50th lap around the sun, indulge me to share a bit of wisdom from the lesson’s ‘life’ has imparted upon me over this half century. Six words; “All I need I already have.” These words are my personal creed. How we frame our own daily lives impacts everything we do and the way we go about doing it. I know I will faulter, get discouraged, whine from time to time, make mistakes and even piss off a few people along the way. However, I know what I ‘need’ (I have it), so I’m only chasing what I ‘want’. If I don’t get what I ‘want’, I still have everything I will ever ‘need’. Life can really knock you on your ass, but if you frame your mind right, it can never really keep you down long.
If you have read this far, I appreciate you. Thank You! Last and certainly not least, I have an amazing wife and two talented daughters who have been incredibly supportive, understanding and most of all tolerant throughout this journey (I’m not the easiest guy to be around sometimes). As easy as it would be to hang our heads and raise a candle for Copley, as a family, we discussed that now is not that time. We are not out of this fight! When we rise again in the Seaport and the skies are clear and sails full, we will rejoice in this chapter of our lives that we will never soon forget.
Thank you all again for your continued support (HUGE part of what I ‘need’ and have). I hope, when the time comes, you will visit our location in the Seaport and let The Boston Bodyworker continue to help Bostonians #feelbetter for another 21 years.
Please enjoy this short videoThanks for the Memories Video
I hope this message finds you safe and healthy.
Understanding you are busy; I will summarize this letter first. Please continue reading for a detailed explanation.
We will remain closed through 8/15 at which time we will reassess the data that determines how safe it is to provide a close contact service such as massage. We appreciate your continued support and understanding. Please reach out if you have any questions.
These past 5 months have been a difficult time for all of us. As a small business owner of a close contact personal service business, disseminating all the research amongst all the noise has been a full-time gig. We should be proud of the work we have done to reduce the spread and maintain a small level of control here in MA. According to the data, since June, about 2-4 weeks after the reopening’s began, the infection rates continue to climb. On June 6, we were at .75. We are now at 1.15 and the numbers are climbing daily as we struggle to enforce social distance guidelines. At this rate, with no indications of any rollbacks to the reopening phases, we are on target to hit ‘critical’ levels (1.4) by September 1. With little to no understanding of how schools may reopen, one can only extrapolate that these numbers will not be slowing any time soon and will likely continue to rise.
I have come to appreciate that despite my best efforts to mine through all this data and double speak from our leaders, the bottom line is that regardless of if/when we reopen, we simply do not know the comfort level of our employees and guest to return not only to The Boston Bodyworker (tell us if you are ready for a massage now by taking this survey), but in most cases, the city. As of July 15, Suffolk county was at 1.06, one of the lowest infection rates within the state. Currently, we have climbed rapidly to 1.26 (1.4 is critical range). When you consider that the majority of the workforce that typically comes into Boston has been staying home, it seems evident that these numbers will continue to climb as more businesses attempt to reopen and commuters return to the city.
If I consider these numbers as well as the research behind indoor air quality of spaces where one spends more than 20-30 minutes (especially in a small confined space), the risk to your safety is still too high (IMO). I have taken every precaution to mitigate the air quality risk by understanding the air system of the entire building (recently upgraded to MERV-13 filtration), as well as installing specialized air filtration systems within the common space and personal units for each treatment room. However, this is only an attempt to be ‘Covid-Sensitive’, not ‘Covid-Free’. If the infection rates were below 1.10%, I feel strongly that we could confidently reopen with low risk (there will always be risk), to our staff and guests. As the numbers continue to climb and the uncertainty of school openings still teetering, I have determined that we must remain closed according to this information.
Science works in probability not possibility. Scientific findings are on a probability distribution from 0 to 1. The more scientific evidence we obtain, the closer our belief about this virus moves towards 1 (one) and vice-versa. That being said, science doesn't "prove" anything (mathematics and physics have proofs). Science seeks to amass knowledge that can be constructed into a theory of how we believe things work based on the available evidence (Ward). In a world accustomed to instant gratification and immediate answers, this can be very frustrating.
In the next few weeks, I will continue to sift through the data and prepare my staff for reopening (TBD). When the numbers, NOT our government, tell us it is safe(r), then we will be ready to serve you, just as we have for the past 21 years. I have wrestled with these decisions from the beginning but understanding that my commitment to your safety and my confidence in scientific methods must come before any desire to reopen.
As always, I am here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. I appreciate your continued support as we navigate these uncertain and difficult times.
Drew Freedman, Principal
I hope this message finds you and your family in good health. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: my commitment to your safety and health.
As the state continues to reopen, I am doing what I can to be prepared. Today, Governor Baker announced that Step 2 of Phase 2 of the reopening (personal close contact services) may commence on Monday, June 22.
I have stayed in close contact with all of our furloughed employees and they are eager to get back to work and help all of you once again. After listening to all of their concerns, as well as considering all of the uncertainties surrounding this virus, the consensus is that notwithstanding of what the Governor and his reopening have declared, it's been determined not to do so until I am confident that the risk to public safety, in a massage environment, has lessened. As much as we respect the Governor and his team’s role in helping us through this pandemic, it is still up to individual business owners to determine if generating revenue is worth more than the risk to its employees and the community.
As I have said before, “making the right choice may not always be easy, but it will always be right.”We have all been overwhelmed with all the reports about the spread of Covid-19, however, none of them will refute the fact that; Close contact with people, especially in confined spaces for more than 20 minutes, increases the risk of infection from COVID-19. By its very nature, massage and bodywork requires close contact in a confined space. Even with us all in agreement on the regulations regarding proper PPE, it’s just too soon. There are also other health risks to consider as well.
Will we reopen? Yes, but only when it is proven safe to do so. These next couple of weeks will provide us with much more information, given the number of businesses that ARE going to reopen.While we have been shut down these past months, I have been reviewing and researching public safety guidelines and warnings in order for us to successfully and safely reopen at the right time. Our staff is taking training on proper use of PPE and will be provided additional training prior to us reopening. The Boston Bodyworker has adopted the Practice Guidelines recommended by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), along with infection control recommendations made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) .
Upon reopening, one of our biggest priorities will be the air quality of our space. Our building has recently been upgraded to MERV 11 filtration systems. In addition, I have purchased a Triad Aer V3 Air Purifier Whole House Air Purification System. The Triad Aer V3 Air Purification System significantly improves indoor air quality up to 3,000 sq ft. With 5-way advanced filtration technology, the Triad Aer V3 is best for removing dust, mold, smoke, odors, allergens, viruses and more from the air. Every treatment room will also have a Mini Aer Small Room Air Purifier . We want you to feel confident and safe from the moment you return to The Boston Bodyworker.
As much as I would like to be reopening The Boston Bodyworker and provide each and everyone of you with the LONG overdue benefit of a clinical massage, I know we can all wait just a bit longer.
I look forward to seeing you again and am happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps taken to keep you, and every patient, safe in my practice.
Thank you again for your loyalty as we all make our way through these challenging times. We value your trust and support and look forward to welcoming you back to a safe and therapeutic environment.
With sincere gratitude for your support and devotion to us.Drew Freedman, Principal
The Boston Bodyworker
As we prepare for the possibility of reopening, we like to hear from you. Please take a moment to answer 4 short questions.TAKE SURVEY NOW
03/22/2020 | These past few weeks have been a challenging time for all of us! Up to this point, my focus has been dedicated primarily to our incredible employees and making sure they are healthy, safe, and supported in every way I can. Based on the many calls and emails we have been receiving, I know how much your massage therapist means to you, too.
We will remain closed until we are certain that public safety is not a risk. Please continue to practice social distancing to help #flattenthecurve.
If you have questions about your membership, please refer to our membership page for more information.
Drew Freedman, Principal
The Boston Bodyworker
03/13/2020 | Over the past 24 hours we have been monitoring the spread of the Covid-19 virus closely. Yesterday, among the many announcements and decisions being made, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared this a pandemic. This is not a word they use frivolously. This determination is based upon irrefutable scientific data. The data confirms that this outbreak is going to increase exponentially over the next several days, weeks and months. As one infectious disease doctor stated, “People must understand that this is not the Covid-19 blizzard, but rather the Covid-19 winter. This isn’t blowing through over the next few days, it is going to be several months.”
Effective today, Friday, March 13, 2020, The Boston Bodyworker will close its doors.
Our goal will be to re-open in 10 days, on Sunday, March 22, 2020. During this time, we will take all the appropriate measures to clean and disinfect our offices. If we have the opportunity to open sooner, we will be prepared to welcome the public back into our business and continue to help this community the best way we know how; through kindness and compassion.
As elected officials and community leaders scramble to do the difficult job of keeping the public safe and the load of the virus’s impact on our healthcare system begins to weigh down upon us, it is up to every individual to do what we can to distance ourselves socially from others until we know who is infected (#flattenthecurve). As a father, I sat down last evening to listen to my girls express their feelings about school being closed, performances, competitions and events being canceled that they have been working so hard to prepare for. We did our best to explain that all of us are going through something right now. We are all being forced to make and live with some hard choices. My wife and I could not expect them to understand the important impact that ‘social distancing’ will have on slowing the rate of growth of Covid-19 and then tell them that The Boston Bodyworker would still remain open. If I have learned anything as a parent (and boss) over these past 15 years, our actions speak much louder than our words. My girls have seen me resurrect the practice after the market crash of 2008 and were by my side after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. These were trying times indeed. If we expect the next generation to improve upon the mistakes of past generations, we must show them, through our own actions, that doing the right thing is ALWAYS the right thing to do!
The determination to close was based upon a single factor; public safety. 575 Boylston is open to so many who will be entering our building and using the same elevators to see the many doctors on the floors above. Many of whom who will be infected and contagious (and not even know it). Until we have the necessary testing kits, it is impossible to know if any one of us may already be infected. If we are able to evade just a single infection, data suggest that we save 3-4 lives. There is no moral dilemma. A temporary shutdown is the only thing to do.
These next few months will be incredibly hard on our families, staff, business and community at large. When times like these test us, we have seen again and again, that, as communities come together, we become stronger as a society. I am confident that we will once again figure out a way to overcome this and forge ahead. Small businesses will bounce back. The economy will bounce back. We will bounce back. Until such time, I ask that we continue to be mindful of our surroundings, kind to others and respectful to difficult choices we will all have to make.
As always, I would like to thank you for your continued support of The Boston Bodyworker and understanding during these difficult and uncertain times. We will all get through this; together.
Drew Freedman, Principal
The Boston Bodyworker
"As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) begins to have an increased impact on our communities, we feel it is important to convey with you more about the steps we are taking to help keep you, our employees and our communities safe and healthy."
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Stay home if you’re sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.