Albany tattoo shops still closed, but getting ready to follow future guidelines

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Right now, Phase 2 of New York’s reopening plan doesn’t include tattoo shops, so Albany tattoo parlor owners are using this time to get everything ready for when they can open their doors.

William Tragedy Yager, more popularly known as “Tragedy” or “Trag,” is Master Barber at Patsy’s Barber Shop, as well as owner of a laundromat, and Albany Modern Body Art, a tattoo and piercing parlor. His laundromat has been operating as an essential business, and his barber shop can now take clients again. But he says tattoo parlors are probably looking like a phase 3 or 4 endeavor. He says he’s ready, willing, and able to make big changes to the usual operations in light of COVID-19.

“We’re excited to reopen. We want to do it the right way, and we want the safety of our clients, who are like our family, to be paramount,” said Yager, “and of course, our staff, and anybody else who comes around here, we want to make sure we have gone above and beyond the call of duty.”

Yager says they’ll probably scale down the size of their waiting room, and add some chairs outside the shop where people can wait for their appointment.

“We are doing everything we can for contact tracing. We are doing a log of the people who come in and out, and we’re really going as far as we can with this to make sure we are doing this in a safe way,” Yager told News10’s Giuliana Bruno.

You probably won’t be able to walk into the shop, sit down with your artist, and sketch things out. Customers will have to make an appointment in advance so the shop can keep track of how many people will be inside. Chatting with your artist about what you want your ink to look like will happen over video chat or messaging.

“We are going to encourage pre-consultations with the tattoo artists. There won’t be as much time spent with you in the shop,” Yager explained.

Tom Martin, known as T-Bone, owns Lark Street tattoo, and says, similarly, you won’t get to bring a whole entourage with you for moral support, and the classic birthday group trip with ten friends can’t be a part of the new normal.

“They’re going to have to hang outside,” Martin told News10, “the days of the big parties in the tattoo shops are over.”

That said, T-Bone is confident that tattoo shops will be able to easily comply with all the safety measures required of them. He and Tragedy agree that getting a tattoo was already typically a clean, safe endeavor.

“Sterilization and single-service products, we’ve been doing that forever,” Martin said, “the only thing we’re really adding at this point is maybe fewer customers, and masks.”

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