Update: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has officially ordered that all tattoo and piercing studios be closed as of Saturday at 8 pm in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In a statement, Cuomo says that he, along with governors in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, have decided to implement this order as a preventative measure.
"These services cannot be provided while maintaining social distance," says Connecticut governor Ned Lamont. "Continuing to confront these critical decisions as a region and across our borders will protect all of our state's residents." While the decision undoubtedly impacts the livelihood of artists depending on appointments for income, it's one the government says is necessary to protect workers and their clients from COVID-19.
This story was originally published on March 16, 2020.
With the recent spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that's caused a global pandemic, health and government officials have advised taking various precautions to stay safe. The Center for Disease Control says that the most effective — and simplest — ways to prevent the spread of the virus are by washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
But the outbreak has many other social and economic implications, from how we shop to whether or not it's necessary to cancel appointments, especially for tattoos and piercings. As a response, popular New York City tattoo shop West 4 Tattoo took a break from sharing its Friday the 13th art offerings to roll out safety precautions to their clients, including washing hands and limiting the number of people brought along to appointments.
Fleur Noire Tattoo, also in New York City, rolled out new precautions for clients including scheduled appointments only, no walk-ins until April 1, and advising clients who recently traveled to high-risk areas to cancel or reschedule. Nice Tattoo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, also asked clients to come to appointments solo, and leave friends and family members at home. Fun City Tattoo, an iconic Manhattan shop, took to Instagram to announce its temporary closing for the coming weeks. "As of tomorrow - Sunday, March 15th, Fun City will be temporarily closing its doors to ensure the safety of us, you, and our community," the caption reads. "We plan on being back March 28th, but please note that may change. Once we know, so will you."
Regardless, New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner says it's best to steer clear of body art for now. "I would avoid new piercings and new tattoos to be safe," he says. "I also would encourage people to take off and clean their jewelry, particularly rings." As Dr. Zeichner explains, dirt, oil, and microbes can get trapped beneath rings and potentially spread infections.
Dr. Zeichner's takeaway is clear: Navigating this unprecedented situation can feel chaotic, but channeling stress into a new tattoo or piercing might not be the best idea.
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.