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'It's unfair' | Nurses turned away from massage appointments because they treated COVID-19 patients

“I’m proud to be a nurse, but right now I just feel like everybody’s just skeptical of health care providers and their exposure, and it’s kind of sad"

ST. LOUIS — Two St. Louis-area nurses who booked massages at different MassageLuXe locations said they were turned away because they’d treated COVID-19 patients.

The spa franchises reopened this week with new procedures, including a questionnaire every client must fill out before their appointments.

The company sent 5 On Your Side a copy of the questionnaire. One of the questions asks if the client has had close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus in the last two weeks.

Both nurses said they answered yes and explained that’s because their job is to treat COVID-19 patients.

They said because of their answers, they were refused service — one at the Creve Coeur location and the other at the Kirkwood location.

A nurse who identified herself as someone who treats patients in the ICU said she received a massage after she filled out the questionnaire Tuesday but got a call Thursday saying she wouldn't be allowed to come in for services until further notice.

The second nurse said she was turned away after she filled out the questionnaire on the day of her appointment.

Both nurses asked 5 On Your Side to not report their names.

"I do feel like it's unfair because some people choose not to wear a mask in public, and they could be more exposed than I am,” the ICU nurse said.

Both nurses reiterated they wear full PPE at work to prevent exposure.

"We're more protected than anybody else,” the second nurse said. "If you have your PPE on, and that is the CDC guidelines for health care front line workers, I feel that they should be treated just like the rest of the population.”

A MassageLuXe spokeswoman confirmed the policy in a statement.

“MassageLuXe is following guidelines that have been put together by the CDC and World Health Organization for COVID-19. Based on those guidelines we have a COVID-19 screening that is asked of all of our clients prior to a service. In order to open and safely continue the operations of our spas, anyone that has had close contact with someone who has a lab confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis within the last 14 days is not allowed to receive a service,” she said.

But that leaves one fewer option for stress relief for people working to fight the pandemic.

“I’m proud to be a nurse, but right now I just feel like everybody’s just skeptical of health care providers and their exposure, and it’s kind of sad,” the ICU nurse said.

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