Tattoo Parlor Owner Frustrated At State’s Silence On Reopening

ev3v4hn

TAMPA, FL — While more Floridians are getting back to work this week under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Phase 1 “Safe. Smart. Step by Step” plan, Bay City Tattoo in Ybor City remains shuttered and its owner, Jeffrey Ziozios, increasingly frustrated. After speaking at the last two Hillsborough County Emergency Policy […]

TAMPA, FL — While more Floridians are getting back to work this week under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Phase 1 “Safe. Smart. Step by Step” plan, Bay City Tattoo in Ybor City remains shuttered and its owner, Jeffrey Ziozios, increasingly frustrated.

After speaking at the last two Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group meetings, Ziozios said he still has no word on when he’ll be able to get back to business.

“On March 25, the EPG voted 8-0 to start the safer at home order that did specifically name hair/nail salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors,” said Ziozios.

Salons and barbershops since gotten the OK to reopen, he said, but there’s been no word on the reopening of tattoos shops.

When he questioned the policy-making group that includes representatives of the Hillsborough County Commission, Sheriff’s Office, School Board and the mayors of each city in the county, he was told the decision is up to the governor.

“If the EPG had the power to close us, then it stands to reason that they should be able to let us open,” Ziozios protested.

He was put in contact with County Attorney Christine Beck who told him that it was technically the governor who mandated the closures. Ziozios was told to appeal to the governor’s office, which he did with no results.

“At the very least, the EPG should contact the governor’s office on our behalf and help us get back to work, the people you are sworn to protect,” Ziozios told the EPG Monday. “The governor of Mississippi opened tattoo parlors today with special new guidelines, and said no job is nonessential that puts food on the table. We are approaching two months of being closed down with no end in site. And I am rapidly getting close to losing the business I have spent 22 years building.”

He said there’s no more risk of contracting coronavirus at a tattoo and body piercing shop than there is at barbershops, hair salons and gyms, all of which have reopened.

“When we reopen it will be under the coronavirus guidelines that would go along with the protocol already in place by the Florida Health Department regarding tattoos and body piercings,” he said.

Don’t miss local and statewide news about coronavirus developments and precautions. Sign up for Patch alerts and daily newsletters.

These include operating by appointment with only with the client and artist present. Prior to making an appointment, Ziozios said clients will receive an on online consultation to keep face time to a minimum, and will be asked to fill out an online health questionnaire one to four hours before the appointment concerning their recent travel, whether they have coronavirus symptoms, if they’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus in the past 30 days and whether they have a compromised immune system or any other health problems.

Once they arrive, clients will be required to wear a protective mask.

Ziozios said the tattoo and body piercing artists will be required to wear protective masks, protective eyeware and gloves, use disposable equipment and medical barriers, and disinfect all surfaces before and after appointments.

Artists will then follow up with clients on their healing process one to four days after the appointment, then five to seven days and finally eight to 20 days.

“We also will continue to operate under all existing rules and regulations regarding tattoos and body piercings under the health department of Florida,” Ziozios told the EPG. “I’m asking you to help us get this situation straightened out so we can get back to work.”

So far, Ziozios said, the EPG has not responded to his request for help.

Don’t miss local and statewide news about coronavirus developments and precautions. Sign up for Patch alerts and daily newsletters.

While Ziozios and other tattoo shop owners watch their bank balances decline, the county’s restaurants are welcoming back diners.

As of Monday, the governor allowed restaurants to expand from 25 to 50 percent capacity, however, bar counters remain closed.

Also permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity are retail shops, museums, libraries, gyms and fitness centers.

Amusement parks and attractions like ZooTampa and Busch Gardens are required to submit reopening plans to the governor’s office for approval before they can welcome back guests.

ZooTampa has done so and said it will reopen June 1. Busch Gardens hasn’t announced its reopening plans.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa has received approval to reopen Thursday.

However, movie theaters, bars and nightclubs remain closed.

Additionally, the governor has given no word on when property managers will be able to resume renting vacation homes.

Although youth league and recreational playing fields remain closed, DeSantis has opened professional sports venues for games, events and training.

Also at Monday’s EPG meeting, Dr. Doug Holt, director of the Hillsborough County Florida Department of Health, updated the policy group on the numbers of people tested for the coronavirus.

To date, 15,420 people in the county have been tested, an average of 1,000 tests per day at the county’s four free testing sites. That represents about 2.7 percent of the county’s population.

In the past three weeks, the county has also tested 2,300 residents at long-term care facilities in Hillsborough County.

He said there are 30 long-term care facilities that have had at least one case of the coronavirus. In all, there have been 302 cases and 33 deaths.

This includes the Bristol at Tampa Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, which has had 15 residents die from the coronavirus, and Community Convalescent Center where six residents have died.

“It is very important to note that the overall percentage of deaths is 10 percent, which is still too high, but other parts of the country have seen 30 percent,” he said.

He added that the county is working on opening a transition site where long-term care residents can go when they recover sufficiently to be released from the hospital.

Overall, Hillsborough County has 1,656 positive cases of the coronavirus as of Monday, an increase of 125 since Thursday. And there have been 55 deaths, an increase of 11 from Thursday.

The county has 23 guests at its hotel isolation site and none at its hotel quarantine site.

Note: The county’s totals differ from the Florida Department of Health coronavirus website, which has 1,613 positive cases and 60 deaths.

The next EPG meeting is scheduled Thursday, May 21 at 1:30 p.m.

See related stories:

This article originally appeared on the Tampa Patch

Next Post

A global mental health summit

Deepak Chopra is hosting a free, 3-day global mental health summit. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Something in the Water) In the face of the pandemic crisis, there is a great opportunity. It is open to everyone, and it is free. We invite you, your family and friends to […]
Scroll Up