Chula Vista

Chula Vista Tattoo Shop Reopens With COVID-19 Message for Community

Tattoo parlor shops in San Diego County are allowed to reopen under California's new reopening guidance

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Monday's re-opening of the Standard Tattoo Parlor Shop has a different feeling.

The coronavirus has hurt Sergio Perez's community, infecting some of his family members, and now he's getting phone calls from those who are grieving.

Perez, affectionately known as Big Checho, is the owner of the Standard Tattoo Parlor Shop in Chula Vista.

"I've been tattooing for 24 years, and I specialize in black and gray realism," Perez told NBC 7.

For the last five months, Perez's tattoo shop has been closed down; in the meantime, he's been getting phone calls requesting his specialty.

"Because of this pandemic and so many people losing loved ones, we've been getting a lot of calls to see if we're scheduling for memorial tattoos," explained Perez.

Perez, who works with his wife, Gema, plans on blocking out appointments for those in mourning.

"Sometimes tattooing does help, helps with the grieving process," Perez said. "You feel like the person is with you at all times."

Photos: Chula Vista Tattoo Shop Reopens With Personal Message For Community About COVID-19

 The seriousness of the coronavirus is not lost on the South Bay tattoo artist.

"I have pre-exisiting conditions, and my family as well, and bringing it home would devastate me, so it's easier to just close down," Perez said.

Perez has also dealt with the fear of having family members hospitalized with COVID-19.

"Our family has been affected by it, and they're still struggling," Perez said. "They've had it, got it a couple of months ago, and still have respiratory issues and heart issues."

Inside the Standard Tattoo Parlor there are now red barriers in place with Plexiglas upon entering the shop. They have also removed the indoor waiting room and separated the artists' work stations and are supplying masks for both artists and clients to wear.

"We're still in the middle of the pandemic," Perez said. "We have to make sure we do everything right to make sure nobody gets sick."

As Perez's family members recover from the virus, he's thankful their outcome was not worse.

"Everybody at the hospital took care of them very well, and I appreciate that because then it would've been a memorial tattoo I'm getting on myself," Perez said.

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