MONTREAL -- Quebec's physiotherapy clinics are re-opening after being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some say the government should help bear the cost of putting protective measures in place.

Action Sport Physio Montreal West co-owner Patrick Scheldeman said the hands-on nature of physiotherapy means practitioners must take extraordinary steps to ensure their safety and that of their patients during the crisis. On top of usual distancing measures, physiotherapists must cover their eyes and change their gowns after every patient.

“We assume they are healthy, however we act as if they are potentially unhealthy,” said Scheldeman.

Quebec Federation of Physical Therapy Clinics spokesperson Pascal Gagnon said many of the requirements are stricter than in other profession and were announced at the last minute, leaving clinics scrambling.

“It was a challenge to be against all the hospitals that wanted these personal protective equipment,” he said.

Gagnon said those PPE came at a high cost and clinics are also unable to see as many patients because of physical distancing and the time spent cleaning. Physiotherapists are hoping the government will offer help to offset those costs but that many will have no choice but to pass the costs on to clients.

“It's strict. We understand that in the area of Montreal they have to take extreme measures to be sure there's little risk of a new outbreak,” said Gagnon.