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Tattoo shops to reopen in Kern County

Posted at 8:52 AM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 14:16:23-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Beginning this week, health officials are allowing tattoo shops to reopen after a months-long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Art for Life is a tattoo and art studio owned by Tim Kirkindoll. He says he’s thrilled to get back to work, but that's not without some concerns.

Art for Life has been closed for the past three months, but he says thankfully, he was able to get some help from unemployment and Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP loans.

The business is on firm financial standing, but Kirkindoll is concerned about the possibility that he may have lost a few customers amid the closure. Partly because some are wary of the virus, and partly because some customers may have found a new artist.

“For one example I have competitors that aren't following the guidelines so they can actually get the tattoos in other places while I'm closed and any extra precautions I take may limit my opportunities there," he said.

Those precautions were handed down by health officials this week, and Kirkindoll says customers can expect some changes, especially if they want to bring company while they get a tattoo.

“People would bring friends and family to come get tattoos and experience it with. Which we can’t offer now. You have to come alone, all of my guests are required to wear a mask, I’m required to wear a mask and a shield," he said.

Kirkindoll will also be wearing gloves for every procedure. Guidelines also prevent artists from giving lip or nose piercing for the time being. Ultimately, he is welcoming the changes because he says it'll make him and his customers, a little more comfortable amid uncertain times.