CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - As businesses slowly start reopening, there’s still no date in site for when tattoo parlors can open their doors.
Erick Corfee, the owner of American Ultra Tattoo in Strongsville, feels if other high volume businesses and dentist offices can reopen, he should be allowed to too.
“it’s been nothing but uncertainty,” since they were told to close on March 18th,” he said, “My phone has been blowing up,” with clients asking if he knows when he’ll reopen, and he said. “It’s constant I don’t know anything.”
Non-essential medical procedures were allowed to resume Friday, and many consumer and retail businesses open on the 14th. In states like Oklahoma, Alaska, and Georgia, tattoo parlors were part of their reopening strategies.
“The minute they opened up non-elective surgery and dentistry, there’s no reason why tattoo shops and barber shops [shouldn’t be open] if they can control their environment,” said Corfee. He added, “There’s no reason why I can’t operate in a safe manor I have 100% control in this environment.”
He argued places like Walmart and Home Depot that are opened do not.
Even before COVID-19, American Ultra operated by appointment only. He showed 19 News their sanitation procedures and said they are experts in cross-contamination.
“Everything gets disinfected. We use the same autoclaves dentists and surgeons use," he said. "As far as common surfaces and stuff I’ve been implementing they get done every hour or two.”
He said he could see why his shop is viewed as non-essential, but said it’s 100% essential for him and his family. So far, he’s losing 10 to 11 thousand dollars a month. It’s a loss he can’t sustain much longer. And for his customers, the ink plays a bigger role than purely cosmetic.
“There’s a lot of my clients who are cutters and have mental health problems and they come get work done verses doing that," he said. "I have a few clients who have eating disorders who claim this has stopped them. This has curbed their actions as far as that disorder goes.”