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COVID-19 is spreading rapidly around the world and people are doing their best to take the proper safety precautions—whether that be washing their hands more frequently, stocking up on canned goods or working remotely. The pandemic has caused us to shift our schedules and rethink certain activities, such as getting tattooed. However, while some may think to reschedule their appointments, others have waited months to get tattooed by their favorite artist and want to do what they can to get tattooed while staying safe. In the event that you're getting tattooed soon, we've rounded up some of our best tips for staying healthy and keeping your artist safe.

If You're Sick, Stay Home

The most important thing to consider when approaching your tattoo appointment is to understand your body and assess how you're feeling. If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, it's best for yourself, your artist and everyone that you might encounter to stay home. If you're feeling symptoms, let your artist know as soon as possible. Many shops around the world have made posts to their clients about how they'd like to reschedule appointments, so it's better to be safe rather than sorry.

Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands (not just using hand sanitizer) is crucial, especially considering how many times we touch our faces every second. Be cautious of what you touch and make sure to have plenty of soap on hand. We also recommend avoiding handshaking for the foreseeable future, try an elbow bump instead.

Make Sure Your Artist/Shop is Following Proper Protocol

You should only get tattooed by artists who follow the proper health protocols and in shops that provide safe ways of disposing of bio-hazardous materials. Make sure that your artist is wearing gloves at all times during the tattoo and changing their gloves as needed. Clip cords should be covered in a plastic film, as well as soap bottles, armrests and tray tables. There should be red boxes for needle and cartridge disposal within the shop and if the artist is using steel tubes, there should be an autoclave in the shop. Artists should also be cleaning their work station, machines, massage beds, etc with MadaCide or a similar disinfectant that kills all germs on contact.

Don't Bring a Friend

While bringing a friend can be a way to alleviate stress, extra bodies can present problems in a pandemic. More people in the shop means more opportunities for clients and artists to come in contact with COVID-19. Keep it safe and ride solo to your appointment.

Cover Your Mouth When Sneezing or Coughing

This should go without saying but cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. If you have to sneeze or cough during your tattoo, try to let your artist know and do so away from other people. Also, after sneezing or coughing, be sure to wash your hands.

Don't Be a No Show

If you don't think you'll be able to make your appointment, make sure to let your artist know ahead of time. If you don't cancel your appointment, your artist will be expecting you and risking contact with others to come into work. Be considerate of their well being and let them know in advance so that they can find a new appointment or stay home.

Clean Your Phone or Put It Away

Our phones are hotbeds for germs and COVID-19 can live on surfaces for several hours. Keep your phone away from your face and sanitize it frequently with disinfectant wipes. Avoid using your phone throughout the tattoo process and in other public areas where the virus may be spread.

Take a look at how NYC's Daredevil Tattoo is handling COVID-19 on Friday the 13th

As COVID-19 has spread, the tattoo industry has responded quickly. Many tattoo conventions have been postponed to prevent the virus from spreading and shops around the world have published statements to ensure the safety of their artists and clientele. As Friday the 13th approached, we had questions on whether shops would be participating this year, particularly NYC's Daredevil Tattoo, who've upheld the tradition for many years.

As it turns out, they decided to go forward with the event, however, they made several changes to the tried and true flash event. In order to prevent crowding in the shop, they posted the available flash to their social media pages. In the past, Daredevil has unveiled the flash in front of an excited mob and allowed customers to wait in the shop before getting tattooed. Now, people were instructed to wait for their tattoos outside of the shop and were given hand sanitizer as well as a tissue before their appointments.

Tattooing can still be done safely during this time, you just need to make sure to follow a couple of simple rules. And, we can't stress this enough, if you are feeling even remotely sick, please stay at home. When you go in public with an ailment like COVID-19 you are putting everybody you come into contact with at risk. Your artist will be ready to tattoo you when you feel better, it's not worth the risk.