Tattoo artists speak out, start petition after being left out of Phase 1

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BROUSSARD, La. (KLFY)- Tattoo shops across Acadiana are speaking out about not being included in phase one of Governor John Bel Edwards’ plan to re-open Louisiana’s economy.

Tattoo artists say they have clients with H.I.V., AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis C, and other
bloodborne pathogens often in their profession, and they’re wondering why COVID-19 is any different.

“Everything that we do with every customer for all the years I’ve been a tattoo artist is specific with the intent of preventing the transmission of diseases,” Allen Erwin, owner of Cutthroat Tattoos in Broussard, said.

Erwin says tattoo artists are trained every year in the prevention of transmission and cross-contamination of blood born pathogens, diseases and viruses.

“Everything that I touch is covered in plastic. It’s new. It’s steralized. It’s single service. We use it once, and we dispose of it properly. Everything gets cleaned with disinfectant between every customer, and we’ve been doing that all these years I’ve been a tattoo artist,” he added.

He says he’s questioning how hair and nail salons are being allowed to re-open wearing PPE’s and
taking other precautions when tattoo shops have been doing that for years.

“If it’s okay for those kinds of businesses to open, why is it not okay for a tattoo shop to open when we already far exceed what those requirements that are being asked of them?” he asked.

The owner of Sinner’s Luck, a tattoo shop in New Iberia, is asking those same questions.

“It’s not fair to open up other businesses that are not trained in the things we’re trained in, to handle this type of stuff,” Richard Thomas, the owner, said.

“We’re already used to using the PPE, the protective clothing. We wear masks. We wear gloves. We bag our equipment, and the chemicals and cleansers that we use to prepare are not just house-hold every day objects we use every day. It’s pharmaceutical grade,” Ashton Touchard, a tattoo artist at the shop, said.

Touchard ays it’s frustrating seeing other businesses he believes are less equipped to handle viruses re-open.

“A lot of the operators and industries that are being allowed to open are not familiar with this. This is something new to them, whereas we practice this everyday,” he told News 10.

Tattoo artists at Sinner’s Luck are so frustrated with the situation, they started a petition.

They hope to catch the attention of policy-makers before they decide which businesses can open in phase two.

“If anybody can advise them, work with them to come up with polices, engineer solutions, we’d like to do that,” Touchard said.

You can find the petition at change.org/letustattoo.

 Read the governor’s Phase 1 Proclamation here.

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