Road to Recovery: Spa owner wants to play by the rules, keep her doors open | SteamboatToday.com
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Road to Recovery: Spa owner wants to play by the rules, keep her doors open

Cassandra Marinez, owner of the Life Essentials Day Spa in downtown Steamboat Springs, said her business was dramatically impacted by the spread of COVID-19. Now she is hoping that following the rules will help keep the doors of her business open and fuel Steamboat's longterm recovery.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Cassandra Marinez purchased Life Essentials Day Spa in December 2018, she made it her goal to take good care of her customers.

“I’ve wanted to make people feel better and to have people feel like they’re being taken care of and being cared for,” Marinez said. “It’s the mom thing in me, so when I had the opportunity to purchase the spa from Pam (Peretz), my husband and I just jumped on it because it was something that I’ve always wanted to do.”

She had spent more than a year building a following at the spa, but then in March, the spread of COVID-19 turned her world upside down.

The doors of the spa were closed for more than six weeks due to a statewide stay-at-home order. Then when the doors finally swung back open on May 1, the world had changed. Marinez quickly realized she would need to be flexible and play by the rules or Life Essentials Day Spa might end up closed once again.

“When we first started back up, it was kind of an unknown thing, and so, we just have been trying to figure things out,” she said. “It feels like it’s always different, and we want to make sure everybody is safe and healthy.”

Life Essentials is obeying the rules put in place by several governmental agencies including the Routt County Board of Public Health, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Department of Regulatory Agencies, which oversees her licensed employees. Currently, the business is offering massages, facials, makeup and hair cut services, lash and brow tinting, waxing and spray tans.

“We have protocols for each thing,” Marinez said. “It is very clean and sanitary.”

Appointments are spaced out to leave a window between clients, so that commonly used areas can be cleaned and sanitized.

“That’s kind of taken away revenue as well, because we have to block out so much time to clean,” Marinez said.

She has divided the spa into three areas, including separate entrances for people seeking various services. Life Essentials currently has five contracted therapists who work in different areas of the spa and a receptionist.

Customers are instructed to show up a few minutes early, so they can answer a series of COVID-19 screening questions. Customers who have been in contact with someone who tested positive within the past 30 days are turned away.

“We basically took the strictest protocols and implemented them, so that we can stay open,” Marinez said.

Despite the impact COVID-19 has had on her business, Marinez remains optimistic about the future. She said she has seen an uptick in visitors coming from the Front Range and other large urban centers who see the mountains as an escape from living in a big city.

“It’s kind of like a double-edged sword,” Marinez said. “We need these people to come, you know, we need the tourists to come in order to keep the town alive.”

The Road to Recovery series is part of the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s ongoing efforts to report on how COVID-19 is impacting Steamboat Springs and Routt County. This series is supported in part by a grant from Google’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.


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