SAN ANTONIO – Tattoo parlors have been temporarily closed since the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are still no plans for them to re-open. As non-essential businesses continue to re-open across the state, tattoo parlors have still not made the list.

Local business owners have been left with questions and frustration.

“These are practices that we’ve done since the beginning of time,” said Theresa Bae, a local business owner.

Bae is the owner and operator of two local tattoo parlors — Golden Rose Tattoos and Ink Masters Studios. Both locations have had their doors closed for almost two months.

“We are just closed right now, pretty much indefinitely until we’re given the okay,” she said.

Hair salons, massage parlors, and tanning salons were allowed to re-open on Friday but under new rules outlined by Governor Greg Abbott’s task force. However, Bae believes tattoo parlors should have been first on the list.

“We’ve worked hard to bring this industry into a professional light, only to be shut down. I mean, it’s been difficult,” said Bae.

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She said professional tattoo studios follow health codes mandated by both the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some of those measures include training in CPR and first aid. Tattoo artists must also be licensed in blood born pathogens training and wear protective gear.

Bae said that they have reached out to elected leaders from around the state, asking them to advocate for tattoo artists. However, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said that is the governor’s call.

“The governor has taken sole authority to begin to open up private sector businesses,” said the mayor.

He said the city is focused on implementing health guidance, which reinforces closures.

The mayor said the city still needs to look at data that shows the impact of physical distancing but that takes two or three weeks.

“We can’t do it too soon or we’ll end up back where we began,” Nirenberg said.

Bae said the more time passes, the more struggles are expected.

“We’re already being negatively impacted,” she said.

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