It’s been 2 months since we reopened after lockdown - where did that time go? We’ve been working hard over those months trying to make up for lost time but we’ve also had to make a lot of changes to the way we work to keep our staff and customers safe.
Tattooing isn’t exactly conducive to social distancing - the artist has to sit close to the customer, hold the skin taut with one hand while tattooing with the other. We loved this illustration tattoo legend Lal Hardy posted during lockdown, it perfectly sums up how we in the industry were all feeling while we were waiting to get back to work.
Thankfully the government saw sense and let us open up shortly after the rest of the barbers and hair salons had been allowed to re-open. Who knows why we weren’t allowed to open sooner, but anyone who has spent time inside a tattoo studio will already know what the government didn’t seem to understand: that tattoo studios are one of the most hygienic environments you’ll find outside of a medical facility.
Maybe it’s a product of a seriously outdated perception of tattooing, but people always seem so surprised when they see how much attention we pay to hygiene - even before we heard about Covid things like single-use needles, plastic covers, wiping down surfaces with anti-bacterial chemicals were all part of our standard practises and all of our staff have had thorough training in infection control.
So it’s no surprise that very little has changed in terms of how we tattoo. In fact, the only change to the actual tattooing is the requirement for our artists to wear a visor and the customer to wear a face covering.
The biggest changes we’ve had to make have been outside the tattooing area. We’ve put up screens, marked out separation distances the floor, moved seating around and put hand sanitisers all over. We’re still not quite sure why the new regulations say no to food or drink in the shop but rules is rules…
We were worried that the new regulations might mean we'd have to say no to walk-ins - an important part of any tattoo shop's business - but we are still able to take arrange same-day appointments so if you are feeling the urge for an impromptu tattoo one day just try to call us when you're on you're way and we'll be able to find a time slot that day to suit you.
Some of our changes have had unintended consequences. For example the hand sanitiser dispenser we installed in reception has been really useful but it also stripped away some of the lovely paint job on our reception desk. A good excuse to give it a fresh lick of paint at least.
Anyway, as annoying as some of the new regulations are, the bottom line for us is simple… after being closed for almost 4 months (the longest any of us have gone without tattooing since we started out our tattoo careers) whether you like wearing a mask or not or even believe that Covid-19 is real or not, we’re just ecstatic to be open and doing what we love once again.
Now we're just keeping our fingers crossed that we can stay open and don't see another lockdown any time soon. So expect to see plenty more pictures on our feed of customers wearing masks, artists wearing visors and remember: wash your damn hands.