Norman Business Owners Fear Closure After City Holds Off Reopening Tattoo Parlors

Wednesday, April 29th 2020, 10:12 pm
By: Barry Mangold


Certain businesses like gyms, restaurants and barbershops will be able to open, however, inconsistencies across city governments will leave some industries scattered.

Tattoo parlors will be able to take on clients by appointment in Oklahoma City, but not in Norman.

“It's not fair for the rest of the state to be open and we have to sit here. A lot of our business is going to go to other places. It's going to sink our business,” said Sean Evers, the owner of Skin Vandal Tattoo & Piercing in Norman.

The Norman city government released its schedule to reopen businesses in phases on Tuesday. Under it, the tattoo business must wait until at least May 29 to open.

The plan differs slightly from the one released by Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office, and the schedule for Oklahoma City.

In a statement, Norman city officials said tattoo parlors pose an inherent risk for virus transmission.

"We are not trying to punish businesses, we are trying to protect residents and employees,” Mayor Breea Clark said.

The state health department has released guidelines for tattoo businesses that plan to reopen. Employees and clients should wear masks at all times, according to the department, and strict sanitation practices should be followed consistently.

Evers said that dog groomers, playgrounds and other establishments also pose a risk for infection. Those and others will be able to open before his business, according to Norman’s plan.

“I think a lot of things got scrambled,” he said.

Massage practices in Norman also must wait until May 29 to potentially open. Mary Elizabeth La Blanc owns a therapeutic massage practice and said she might even wait longer to open back up.

“I was thinking that it was still too early, for me,” she said.

The delay will not destroy her business, she said. However, a second or third wave of COVID-19 infections and additional stay-at-home orders might.

“If it happens several times, then it's not going to be okay. I'll probably have to close my doors and look at getting another job,” La Blanc said.