EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Some may be wondering what, if any, procedures have changed if they wanted to get a tattoo during the pandemic.
Aspired Vision tattoo studio in El Paso said it is continuing their high sanitation standards throughout the pandemic.
Michael Alquassimi, owner of Aspired Vision tattoo studio, said they always made sure safety and sanitation was top priority, even before the pandemic.
He said their tattooing stations were already 10 feet apart and their tattoo artists used medical grade sanitizing technology and disinfectants.
“The only thing that changed for us was masks,” said Alquassimi. “But you already had some tattoo artists and piercers wearing masks and gowns.”
He explained they had to add some new protocols for customers.
“Once they get inside, we ask them questions like they do in restaurants: Do you feel ill? Have you had any contact? We take their temperature, we have alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer so you can sanitize your phone,” explained Alquassimi, adding they never have full staff in the studio.
When the pandemic started, tattoo shops were forced to close along with barber shops, hair salons and nails salons.
He says they were put in the same category as those businesses, but once the other businesses were allowed to open, the state didn’t include tattoo parlors.
“It was really frustrating. Calling the city, calling the state, not getting nay answers, them saying ‘we’re working on it, we’ll get back to you,’ and they never get back to you,” recalled Alquassimi, saying him and his staff had to rely on their savings to be able to support their families.
After several weeks, the state allowed tattoo parlors to reopen. He says they immediately started catching up on delayed work.
Despite the emphasis on cleanliness and sanitation, Alquassimi says tattoo shops still face prejudice.
“A lot of people still have the old school mentality where tattoo shop [are] all bikers and gangsters … We get looked down upon just because the stereotype we have. We have families just like everyone else, so why wouldn’t we take care of you?” asked Alquassimi.
He predicts a new tattoo trend for the future — coronavirus-themed tattoos. Even though they still didn’t get any similar requests, he says, they might be after they catch up with the previous appointments.