On a near daily basis while working I am asked by patients if our clinic is doing okay and if we will be able to continue offering our services for the long run. Let me say that I truly appreciate and understand these concerns and the caring nature of those who have asked. I feel the same way about some of my own favorite local small businesses. The pandemic has taken a terrible toll on some of our most beloved local treasures and it is tragic that some have had to shutter their doors for good.
I want to be clear in stating that I have no intentions of closing for good. I’m dedicated and devoted to this work, so I’m going to do my damned best to continue doing this job, even if it means things look different for awhile. I don’t know when the pandemic will end, but my goal is to continue working through it to the best of my ability, with all the difficult limitations I’m facing (namely: 50% reduced capacity for treatments per hour and my limited ability to work in the office because I am a parent of 2 young children with very limited childcare). This is a long-term career that I am passionate about, and there’s really nothing else I would rather do. I opened Acupuncture Together in 2008 and I really want to see it continue on for much longer than 12 years.
Despite being determined, this time has been extremely challenging. I would lie if I said I was just sitting home relaxing from the day we closed on 3/13 until 6/9 when we reopened. Having to suddenly close down the office but still being responsible for covering ongoing business expenses, knowing patients who depend on acupuncture were unable to receive it and not knowing when or how we could reopen was extremely difficult. The time and labor required to plan to reopen was enormous. I spent hours upon hours scouring the CDC website so that I could write a safety manual, I spent hours shopping to procure cleaning products and PPE, recliner covers, a plexiglass stand at the front desk and other necessary items and I spent hours in the office moving furniture around, cleaning and reorganizing and training staff so that we would be as ready as we could be upon reopening.
Now here we are on the other side of that closure. We’ve been open since June 9th, and while I am truly grateful to be back at work, we continue to experience challenges. For the past month we have only been providing about 25-30% of the number of treatments that we were providing before the pandemic, yet we do have the capacity to provide significantly more treatments than that amount, even with our social distancing measures in place. I recognize that for many people the idea of going to a community acupuncture clinic may not feel safe even with all the safety measures, and/or perhaps it is too great an expense for those who have lost work recently. I certainly understand that everything is different now and that people’s comfort levels vary. After all, staying home is the safest choice.
Unfortunately because we are not providing many treatments anymore, we no longer have desk staff. I have really enjoyed working with them and I am very sad that we can no longer work together. I know they were all extremely disappointed to not be able to continue working and I know many of you miss being greeted by them when you arrive in the office. In addition, one of our acupuncturists, Eric, has been offered and accepted a position at a physician’s office closer to his home, so he will be leaving our practice at the end of this week to transition to his new job. Eric has been with us since 2018 and I know many patients have had wonderful treatments with him, so this is certainly another loss.
Despite these losses I am hopeful and positive about the future of Acupuncture Together. Andrew and I will continue offering you acupuncture (and if you haven’t seen Andrew yet, I’d urge you to make an appointment with him – he’s fantastic!). Although so many things are different now – limited hours and access, a smaller staff and all the necessary Covid-19 safety measures in place – I promise to persevere, and I also appreciate your understanding of all of the challenges we are going through.
This post was written by Justine Myers, Lic. Ac. & Clinic Owner and Director/Manager of Acupuncture Together