Closure of the Pacific Wellness
June 26, 2020
It is with a heavy heart that we must write this notice to our valued clients.
As many of you know, the Pacific Wellness has shut down on March 21, 2020, as mandated by the government of Ontario. During the period of shutdown, we have been trying to figure out how to reopen and resume our operations safely. However, we have made the decision that our clinic will remain closed.
The decision to permanently shut down our 30-year-old clinic did not come easily. But we had to make the decision based on the following reasons:
First and foremost, the health and safety of our staff and clients have always been our utmost priority.
As SAR-Cov-2 is a new virus, there are still many things that experts do not know about this virus. However, one thing has been increasingly apparent. That is the likelihood of airborne (aerosol) transmission (N Engl J Med 2020; 382:2063). If this mode of transmission is more commonly occurring as growing evidence suggests, the implication to our practice, especially massage therapy, would be significant. So, we had to take the potential risk very seriously.
Coronavirus spreads when someone inhales enough amounts of virus that an infected person emits through coughs, sneezes, talk, or breath. A recent study found that in a confined, laboratory setting, droplets containing viral particles can remain afloat for 8 to 14 minutes. Smaller aerosols can drift in the air for even longer, up to 3 hours. The likelihood of becoming infected with a COVID-19 depends on the amount of virus and the duration of exposure. During the massage session, the therapist and client remain in close contact inside a small confined room. We have been wondering how this could be safe for our clients and therapists? Very recently, some of our therapists informed us that they are reluctant to resume their practice anytime soon. Perhaps, they too have a similar concern.
Some facilities can provide massage in safer environments for clients and therapists (e.g., a large room with windows). In our place, unfortunately, each room is quite small, with limited ventilation. As we learn more about how this virus can transmit, we realized that just following the regulatory body’s guidelines (which mainly focused on the risk of transmission via droplets and contaminated surfaces) might not be sufficient. While we cannot provide a completely risk-free environment, we are responsible for creating and maintaining a safer place for our clients and staff.
In Japan and other countries, where aggressive contact tracing has been taking place, new Covid-19 clusters have been linked to massage clinics and spas. Out of an abundance of caution, we have delayed our reopening to spend extra time figuring out if we could implement some additional mitigation measures in our clinic. We have come up with several ways to provide a massage service in our place safely. However, those ideas involved logistic and financial challenges.
Wearing masks are mandatory for both clients and therapists. However, if you’re in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 contagious in enclosed space, “Wearing a cloth mask does not protect you much. It may give you 20 minutes, instead of 10, to avoid contracting the disease“, according to Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., MPH, an internationally known expert in infectious disease epidemiology.
A conventional surgical mask only stops 30% of the small aerosol droplets (Lancet, May 27, 2020). We are not allowed to use high-performance N95 masks as Canada is still having the PPE shortage issue with frontline workers
We have also explored the option of reopening certain services first, such as acupuncture and chiropractic, as those therapies can limit or control the prolonged duration of close contact. However, with our current business model, our clinic would not be sustainable without revenues from massage services.
This unprecedented event has inflicted a tremendous financial blow to our business. Reopening our clinic with all essential and additional safety measures in place would have required financial assistance. Since we have lost almost 100% of revenue since we were ordered to shut down in March, we have hoped we would qualify for the adequate government’s subsidy or loan programs. Unfortunately, we were not fully eligible for the wedge subsidy, and our applications to the Federal Government’s Small Enterprise Loans were denied.
We have established a small clinic in Yorkville, in the fall of 1990. We have never expected our 30-year journey would end this way. However, we had to conclude that it is time to say farewell to Pacific Wellness.
Both of us are immigrants. We are grateful to this community for welcoming us and allowing us to successfully operate one of the largest wellness clinics in a prime location in Toronto. We have adapted the word “pacific” in our clinic name as it means “to pacify” or “restore peace “from a literal sense. In the current environment with strict safety protocols in place, however, it is hard to provide a genuinely calming and relaxing treatment experience. We sincerely hope that people will soon be able to truly enjoy receiving the treatment once again, according to The Pacific Wellness Institute’s original vision: Restore people’s health in the peace of mind and body.
We would like to express our appreciation to the current and former staff. Many of them have been working with us for many, many years. We could not come this far without our great team.
We would also like to thank our landlord and their maintenance team. They have been very supportive during our 26 years of tenancy.
Lastly, we know many of you have been waiting for our reopening and looking forward to resuming treatments. We have done our best to safely reopen our business so that we would be able to continue serving you. However, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it untenable for our operations to continue. Please accept our sincere, most profound apologies for disappointment and inconvenience. We deeply regret it had to come to this.
As some of our therapists will be returning to work in new places, we will post their new practice information on our website’s resources page (https://pacificwellness.ca/links/). On the same page, you will also find additional resources to help you find new practitioners. Your health records will be kept in a secure location for ten years. You can retrieve your files via MedChart when needed. (please see the links below)
It has been a pleasure serving you. We hope that you and your family stay safe and we wish you the best of health.
Tim and Claudia
The Pacific Wellness Corporation
Tim H. Tanaka, Ph.D., President
Claudia Tanaka, Director
For the health records of our clients, please request via MedChart
(for clients only)
- https://app.medchart.ca/request/721ce320-c1fb-4151-8cec-eb7384ae3a1c (for the third party requesters)