It’s legal once again to go to a tattoo parlour in New York and get inked just about anywhere on your body – except under the face mask still required as the city reopens after once being the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak.Tattoo aficionados this week rushed to body art parlours across New York which opened on Monday after being shuttered for more than three months, including InkStained Tattoo Studio on Staten Island. A limited number of customers could be inside at once and each of the five artists had about 30 people on their waiting lists.“Oh man, it’s awesome – I had been thinking about it for months,” said customer Analia Acevedo of Staten Island, who was getting the underside of her forearm tattooed with an elaborate blue and purple rose design.“They got a lot of great things here to make you feel safe,” said Acevedo, gazing at newly installed curtains between tattoo chairs to create a barrier against COVID-19.A customer gets a tattoo as restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are eased at InkStained Tattoo Studio in the Staten Island borough of New York City, New York, U.S. July 6, 2020.
Even with this week’s reopening of self-care businesses, state regulations require customers to wear face masks and prohibit removing them, keeping that section of the body canvas off-limits for tattoos – for now.InkStained tattoo artist Tramaine Miles said the shutdown initially provided some welcome time off but it stretched far too long.“It feels really good to be back in the chair,” Miles said.InkStained studio owner Michael Herbert said the closure left him worried about paying bills.Mike Herbert, owner of InkStained Tattoo Studio, stands at the reception counter as restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are eased in the Staten Island borough of New York City, New York, U.S. July 6, 2020.
“This is all we have,” Herbert said. “It’s a very hard industry to be in to begin with and be forced to shut down for four months. It’s very difficult.”It was the city’s second tattoo parlour reopening, after a 1961 ban during a Hepatitis B outbreak was lifted in 1997. Some historians speculate that the shutdown actually had less to do with controlling disease spread and more to do with city efforts to clean up its image ahead of the 1964 World’s Fair, according to Smithsonian.com.(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter