If you're like most tattoo artist, your studio is temporarily closed and you're at home following the lockdown.
The good news is that some countries are already reducing quarantine measures and businesses are preparing to reopen. The bad news is that it's not going back to the old normal. Business will have to adapt, specially those who have direct contact with the clients.
On a first stage, tattoo parlors will reopen with restrictions. And until we're allowed to safely lift those restrictions, here's some guidelines to help you get back to business as soon as possible.
As a tattoo artist, it is your duty to guarantee your clients safety conditions. And safety isn't asking the clients to just sign a sheet that to prove they’re not drunk. It means to be brave enough to take all measures in your hands that will promote the safety of your team and your clients.
And right now, depending on where you have your activity, it meant closing your business temporarily, sending your artists home and delaying tattoo appointments indefinitely. But like all bad things, that will soon come to an end.
Photo by Theme Photos from Unsplash
Opening with restrictions
First and above all, check the new decrees within the country you operate in. Depending on the size of your store, distance to the street and studio capacity, you might have different guidelines regarding the re-opening.
Secondly, define your own internal rules for clients. Here's a few suggestions to keep your space safe:
1 - Have hand sanitizer readily available
Clients should use it to disinfect their hands upon entering the studio. Some clients might bring items such as bag, cellphone, headphones or other item - sanitize those too, specially mobile phones, as they're frequently around the chair / table and can be a hot spot for contamination.
2 - Essential personnel and clients only
Do not allow more people than necessary inside the studio. Set the limit and stick to it. The ideal would be just the artist and the client, but whenever that's not possible, we advise a maximum of 5 people for every 100 m2.
This will mean the clients cannot be accompanied by friend and significant others. No visits. No artists without pre-appointments. I know this is one of the hardest to follow, but you have to raise awareness and point out the importance of this rule. This will reduce exponentially the potential for contamination among you, your team and your clients.
3 - Don't allow walk-ins on a first phase
Make sure every client makes an appointment so that they can receive the guidelines for the safety procedures from your site or via email.
4 - Masks are a must
You should wear a good mask and have mask for your clients (or asked them to bring their own). Masks should be kept during the full process (including payment and breaks).
Some pieces might take several hours so if masks are not feasible solution, consider isolating or distancing your face from the clients face as much as possible. Plastic barrier are a possible solution.
5 - Avoid breaks, apply safety measures when you can't avoid
If it's a quick tattoo, there's no need for snack and bathroom breaks. Long processes will probably require removing the mask or going to the bathroom or a smoke. When this happens, make sure the sanitation guidelines are followed.
6 - Disinfect all surfaces after each client
This means the front desk, the table, the chairs and other essential elements. Even the floor is a good idea - remember Coronavirus is an invisible enemy, winning is a matter of rigor.
7 - Set the limit of customer per day
There's only so many times you can properly disinfect all surfaces and abide by the guidelines. We suggest you start by defining with your team a number as low as possible and increase it gradually according to your country's guidelines.
8 - Make payments safe
Cash payments are a potential contaminator, mostly because cash exchanges hands quite often. And coronavirus can survive on bills and coins for a long time. For this reason, several governments have advised to reduce cash payments. You can solve this issue with bank transfers or online payments, such as mobile transfers using banking apps.
9 - Inquire your customers if (s)he's had any symptoms lately
Just a few questions to guarantee they haven't been in contact with infected subjects. It's also important to know if they've been having any symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as coughing, difficulty breathing or fever.
Relax gradually and never too soon
Your country / state / city will inform you when to reduce the safety procedures.
Every time you think of relaxing on the rules before it's safe to do so, consider the following questions:
- If you became a vessel for transmission in your town, how would it affect your business?
- In case your team gets infected, how long will your studio have to be closed for business? (at least 40 days in most countries)
- What does it take to maximize the chances of you, your teammates and your clients staying in good health?
I know these are hard question, and that limiting your income sources can be tough, but the more careful we act right now, the sooner the situation will alleviate.
Advise your clients properly
Having your skin pierced for several hours causes trauma on your skin and stress on your body. And when this happens, the immune response becomes weaker. It's important that your clients are well aware of this and take measures to keep safe before, during and after the tattoo.
Advise them to take a few days off or to reinforce the quarantine for at least 48h. Getting exposed to the virus during a time when the immune system is weaker might worsen the consequences.
There's a lot you can do during this period
In fact, here's a list of 19 things you can do during this time that will be beneficial for your business.
Take this time to boost your social media presence, to promote your business online, maybe work on some flash images. Or just enjoy a well-deserved rest.