San Diego

Tattoo Parlors, Included in Phase 3, Call Wait to Reopen Unfair

NBCUniversal, Inc.

While the accelerated phase 2 reopening offers opportunity to many businesses, others have no clear start date.

Tattoo shops are among them, and many in the industry are calling it unfair.

SD Tattoo is one of the largest, if not the largest, tattoo studios in the city. The artists are asking why an industry, which operates under strict health department oversight anyway, remains shuttered.

Pre-pandemic, it could handle hundreds of customers a day, but staffers are preparing for a far more subdued future, SD Tattoo said.

"We have a plan. We have a set goal in mind, and we are solid sticking to it," Customer Service Representative Sophie Sperrazzo said.

New protocols would include appointment only service and consultations over the phone. Once customers get there they’ll need a temperature check, and once they sit down their artist will wear gloves, and face masks and shields. Clients would be seated in every other chair shielded by plexiglass.

"We have the proper procedures, the proper equipment as well as the capacity to handle it. I would be confident coming back to work," Tattoo artist Lawrence Horton said.

Still, they aren’t getting a straight answer from the county or state when tattoo studios can open, SD Tattoo owner Chris Gonzalez said.

The business has been closed since March 20.

"I get multiple messages a day asking when we are coming back, when we can make an appointment," tattoo artist Deanna Miller said.

Tattoo artists must be licensed and certified each year. Shops face hefty fines and the threat of shutdown for operating outside health department guidelines.

"We're very sterile, like medical-grade kind of situation. It really is a lot cleaner than any restaurant," Sperrazzo said.

A spokesperson from the office of County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher told NBC 7 tattoo shops will be permitted to open in phase 3, but when phase three begins has not been determined.

Tattoo shops are considered high-risk, non-essential businesses.

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