ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — In the unforeseen age of social distancing, businesses requiring hands-on interaction with customers, like physical therapy clinics, particularly have to make adjustments, along with their patients.

While doing some stretching exercises, Alan Smirin explained what brought him to an appointment at BenchMark Physical Therapy on Johnson Ferry Road.

“[It’s] a degenerated disc injury. I flared it up doing something I probably shouldn’t have been doing,” said Smirin, adding that it happened at a gym right as COVID-19 was flaring up into a pandemic.

“It was scary, and to say it was inconvenient is an understatement,” he said.

BenchMark staff members said to say the pandemic has had a negative impact on their business is also an understatement.

“Our patient flow has decreased significantly, as many healthcare providers have,” said BenchMark Regional VP of Operations┬áKatie Abebe.

She said they’ve added more safety measures to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which include taking clients’ temperatures as they come in, installing clear acrylic shields at the front desk, requiring masks for all employees, continued hand-washing after each patient and social distancing.

“We’re being a little more diligent with that. We wipe down all of our equipment with CDC-approved disinfectants between each patient and at the top of every hour,” she said.

Abebe said clients and staff members also have the option of using telehealth if they don’t want to come in to the facility.

“Our ability to serve our patients using telehealth and some in-person visits has really, we believe, helped our community stay well during this pandemic,” she said.

She said now that more clients are returning for physical therapy, and business is starting to increase, the future looks bright, despite the grim impacts of the coronavirus.


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