As state governments try to find ways to halt the spread of the potentially lethal novel coronavirus, non-essential businesses across the country have been ordered to cease operations. Given the nature of tattooing, it seemed a matter of time before tattoo shops would be on the list of business that needed to close. In both Washington and Ohio that time has come.
On Monday, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington ordered the temporary closure of bars, restaurants and "recreational facilities." Included under the order are coffee shops, barbers, nail salons, movie theaters, music venues and tattoo shops.
The state of Washington was one of the first states to be hit by the virus, and with over 900 known cases, it is the second hardest-hit state behind New York.
On Wednesday evening, tattoo shops all across Ohio closed their doors for the last time for the foreseeable future. Following the lead of states like Washington, Governor Mike DeWine ordered the closure of barbers, nail salons, spas and tattoo shops.
As the entire country continues to battle this virus, other states are likely to be ordering the closure of tattoo shops in the future. Given the high level of cleanliness and sanitation practiced by reputable tattoo shops, it isn't the act of being tattooed that has led to their closure. One can still get tattooed safely while taking a couple of extra precautions.
The primary reason for closing tattoo shops is in an effort to keep people at home. No matter how much you may feel like it, you don't need to get a tattoo. In order to defeat this pandemic, people need to limit their contact with each other, especially since you can carry COVID-19 without knowing it.
Shop closures and the cancellation of tattoo conventions are going to be economically crushing for the entire industry. It's important to get out there and support your favorite tattoo artists (not to mention restaurant workers, bartenders, barbers, etc.) in any way that you can.
Expect there to be more tattoo shop closures in the coming days. This will pass if we work together to keep each other safe. Stay home, stay safe, social distancing, wash your hands... you know the drill by now.