With Massachusetts announcing Phase Two reopening today (Monday, June 8th), we understandably have been fielding a lot of this question. The short answer is: no, not yet. Somerville is moving more cautiously than the rest of the state, which makes sense given we are one of the most densely populated areas in the country. But as a personal service, we belong in Phase Two (unless I learn otherwise), and Somerville doesn’t yet have a date set.
In the meantime, we’re working on getting ready for floating in the time of COVID-19. There are extensive checklists and “self-certifications” that must be met before we can open. Some items that we require in order to keep everything safe and sanitary are still hard to find, although it’s getting better (I found a great big bottle of hand sanitizer the other day!!). I’m also researching new equipment like UV sanitation lights. Keep in mind that while a particular business reopening may theoretically be possible, in reality it might be pretty hard.
If you’ve been with us a while, you may recall that we usually close for about a week in the summer to work on big noisy maintenance projects? We’ve moved up the timeline on those. We’re going to try to get them done now, before our eventual opening day arrives.
I’m really heartened by what people have been telling us. They say that they miss us (we miss you too). They say that floating has done more for their mental health than anything else they’ve tried. They’re wishing they could float to relieve that one sore spot in their back that nothing else touches. I’m glad to hear this – not that you’re suffering, of course, but that you love floating, love our space, and can’t wait to come back. We’ll be here.
We said before that we’d be closed through the end of March and then re-assess. It’s the end of March and the time has arrived! Surprising no-one (I hope), in the wake of this continuing pandemic, we’re going to remain closed for the foreseeable future. If you’d like to do something to help us, you can buy a gift card for later use. We’ve cut our gift card prices to absolutely bananas levels as a thank-you. (Of course you can use gift cards for yourself; I strongly approve of gifts for Future You.) Make sure you go to the gift card page linked above to get the special price, as our “Store” page has our usual prices.
Some of you have asked about our intentions in the wake of Inman Oasis announcing their (perhaps) more permanent closure. First of all, we are massive fans of Inman Oasis, Jo & Jenny, all the staff, and that beautiful wooden community tub, and we’re heartbroken to hear the news. For those who are worried that as sort-of similar businesses, we may be considering a similar move, I want to reassure you that we’re dug in for the long haul. I don’t pretend to know what the future will bring, but IO are dealing with two particular factors: 1) their lease was up (business leases are different from residential leases and often more contentious), and 2) a major aspect of their business does not play well with physical distancing: massage and the community tub. (source: the letter they sent to their clients, a group that includes me.) I very much hope that Inman Oasis is able to re-emerge like a phoenix after all this is over, stronger than ever.
Meanwhile, we are pursuing everything we can to freeze in place for as long as required. New unemployment insurance rules meant our staff didn’t have to be laid off, and we’re hoping to get some CARES Act relief. When we get to the other side of this, floating and the peace it brings will be needed more than ever.
So that’s where we stand. On a related topic, I have been absolutely floored by the outpouring of kindness toward us. Several insisted we continue their memberships *without* the special perks we offered; one bright soul read our last update and immediately bought a Make-A-Change package of nine floats. Dimitra at Daddy Jones has been a beacon of support. (Do you know someone who needs food? Let her know here at Restaurants Feed Somerville Families.) I had no expectation of any this, and I’m deeply affected. I barely have the words to express my gratitude. As Mr. Rogers famously said, “Look for the helpers,” and I’m seeing so many helpers in my community. You people are amazing.
In case you missed it in your inbox, we sent this to all of you. If you have an active membership, you were on the list.
“By now you likely know that we’ve closed through the end of March, at least. You also know that we’re going to take a real hard hit from this as our cashflow stops. We know we aren’t alone, and that many of you must make hard practical choices right now as well.
“I know many of you aren’t in a position to “let it ride” with no end in sight. But some of you may be, and if you can, I have a proposal for you.”
Since we closed to the public Monday night, we’ve been in a bit of a whirlwind. When it comes to closing a float center, you can’t just put up the “Closed” sign, turn off the lights, and walk away; there are many many things to do. Call clients, clean the place, sanitize everything we possibly can. Hibernate the tanks. Get the plants to their vacation location.
I just got off a conference call with the team, and everyone agreed: we need a break. We need a break to rest and adjust ourselves to the situation. A friend today said they just wanted a new normal, even if that normal wasn’t fun, and I sure understand that. We’re going to take a little time to regroup and acclimate to the new normal.
So, tl;dr: we’re going offline until Monday, March 23rd. We will answer questions, take care of business, and return messages once we come back. We haven’t disappeared, we’re still here, we’re just recovering our wits for a little bit. Everyone we had to cancel in March will get first choice at rebooking when we reopen. You can still buy float credits to use later and gift cards at our online store.
We have been paying close attention to the COVID-19 situation as it unfolds, and in light of Somerville’s expanded state of emergency declaration, Colin and I have decided it’s time to close. We will reassess at the end of March, taking into account current advice at that time.
If you had an appointment on our calendar in April, we’ve left it alone for now, but the rest of the calendar is frozen through April 6th. We’re keeping a list of everyone who had to be canceled in March, and we’ll give you a call back when we know we are reopening, to give you a chance to make your appointments first.
Like all other small businesses here, we are going to take a big hit with this. I hope you’ll consider leaving your float credit on file with us and rescheduling. If that’s not possible, I understand. For refund requests, please email Service [at] floatboston.com, or call 844-443-5628 and leave us a message. Please have patience, as we will not be staffed and will be checking messages rarely.
Alternatively, if you want to show us a little support, you can purchase floats or gift cards online for use at a later date.