‘Slap in the face’: Tattoo businesses in Montgomery Co. not allowed to reopen

Even as coronavirus restrictions have been relaxed across the D.C. region, Montgomery County, Maryland, has been more heavy-handed in regulating what can and cannot be done at businesses.

That is especially true for tattoo companies in the county, which have not been allowed to reopen yet.

“We have been ordered to remain closed until further notice,” said James Hughes, owner of Bethesda Tattoo Company.

“We’re just completely frustrated because we have no explanation from the Montgomery County government at all.”

Most places in the region have started to allow tattoo companies to open with limitations, such as only being allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

“We’re essentially watching Maryland, D.C. and Virginia allow tattooing with no issue,” said Hughes. “It’s just very frustrating and kind of a slap in the face.”

In a statement to WTOP, a county spokeswoman acknowledged that Montgomery County has been more strict than other areas but did not specifically address the issue of tattooing.

“Our reopening guidelines are based on health and safety factors that we believe are important to protect our residents,” said Mary Anderson with Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services.

“Our reopening dates have not been identical to those of other jurisdictions around Maryland and this guideline is another example of us making decisions to guide our community.”


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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.


According to Hughes, tattoo artists are trained on health and safety, including cross-contamination practices and how to deal with blood-borne pathogens.

Hughes said his business purchased personal protective equipment, installed hand sanitizing stations and is prepared to take temperatures at the door.

“We are, I believe, more prepared than any other service that was allowed to reopen,” Hughes said.

“I just want to know what they want us to do to convince them that we are capable of reopening.”

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