Tattoo artists and studio owners across the country have started an organisation called Tattooers Unite SA to petition for the reopening of the sector during level 3. Picture:  Issei Kato Reuters
Tattoo artists and studio owners across the country have started an organisation called Tattooers Unite SA to petition for the reopening of the sector during level 3. Picture: Issei Kato Reuters

Tattoo artists want government to let them open studios during Level 3

By Chulumanco Mahamba Time of article published May 22, 2020

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Johannesburg - Tattoo studio owners and tattooists have urged the government to allow them to reopen studios under sterner conditions during lockdown level three.

Tattooers Unite SA, a non-profit organisation which includes about 75 tattoo studios and 380 tattoo artists from across the country, sent a proposal to the National Command Council (NCC) this week with protocols of how the tattoo and piercing industry would operate under level three of lockdown.

“Because of the fact that we fall under what they (government) call high risk area, we would only open in level one but that could be in months and we have a lot of unemployed tattooists right now who aren’t working and haven’t been able to earn anything,” said Metal Machine studio owner Derek Baker.

Black and White Tattoo Studio in Sandton co-owner Tiplo Tsotetsi told The Star he hadn’t touched his tools since the lockdown started and he agreed the industry should be allowed to reopen.

“We deal with people who have TB, Aids or hepatitis and that’s why we wrap our machines, we’re always wearing gloves Our industry is safer than others,” he said.

Tsotetsi said the company saved money before the pandemic which they now used to pay salaries and rent.

“This is too much now. We want to work and be in the studio and be able to tattoo,” he said.

The organisation proposed to the government that where possible, heavy-duty curtains or plastic partitions would be placed between each tattooists’ workstation and sprayed with alcohol or wiped down after attending each client.

Among their protocols was the request that the government allow studios to screen all tattooists, piecers and clients on arrival at the studio. Studios would contact all clients before their appointments to determine their awareness of any Covid-19 symptoms.

“Other proposals included only allowing clients, the tattooists, piercers and shop assistants in the studio under the condition that they wear surgical masks and not cloth masks,” Baker said.

The most important part of Tattooers Unite SA was to set up a non-profit organisation to raise funds for the struggling studios registered with the organisation.

The organisation also started a petition, which was signed over 8000 times by Thursday afternoon. The petition was a request to the NCC to allow the tattoo industry to trade during level three of the lockdown.

@Chulu_M

The Star

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