Hundreds sign petition to allow tattoo artists to reopen in Manitoba

By | May 4, 2020

WINNIPEG — As businesses in Manitoba begin reopening, tattoo parlours are being forced to keep their doors closed. Now one local tattoo artist is speaking out.

Phil McLellan has started a petition to allow tattoo parlours and body modification studios in Manitoba to open with the rest of the non-essential businesses this month. Currently, under the province’s reopening plan, tattoo parlours will not be allowed to open until at least June 1. The province has not set a specific date for when tattoo parlours may reopen.

“We’re qualified to deal with cross-contamination issues as it relates to COVID-19 and direct contact with clients,” McLellan told CTV News. “We do it every day, for the 33 years that I’ve been tattooing. We do exactly what they are asking other places to implement now – it’s our general practice.”

McLellan said tattoo parlours are required to certify with the province on cross-contamination prevention, and have the personal protective equipment available for them to reopen safely.

He said many tattoo artists wear gloves, sleeves and aprons to protect themselves from bodily fluids. He said many artists are opting to wear masks as well, with splash protection face shields available.

He said with non-essential businesses including hair salons and massage therapists being allowed to reopen, he believes tattoo parlours should also be allowed.

“I just find it – I don’t even know how to describe it – bizarre that the province would exclude the very people that they mandate be trained in this specific type of prevention activity to not be part of the first phase of reopening,” he said.

More than 1,000 people have signed the petition as of Monday evening.

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