Feel free to adopt and adapt this letter for your locale
This letter is in response to the arbitrary shutdown of tattoo studios in California but is certainly applicable anywhere in the United States.
On March 18th, 2020 at 9:40 pm The Alliance of Professional Tattooists issued a formal statement that read:
“The Alliance of Professional Tattooists Inc., recommends all Trade practitioners exhibit professional conscience and character in regards to the rapidly changing circumstances revolving around the COVID-19 pandemic that is griping our nation. We urge all Trade practitioners to comply with their respective State, and local Health Departments suggestions, and more importantly their directives.”
Since the time of that statement our organization has received a great amount of feedback from our membership, non-member practitioners, health officials, and mainstream media entities seeking both guidance for our Trade, and offering suggestions that we might utilize in future guidance of our Trade. Tattooists have been hit hard from this pandemic just as all other professions, trades, and the general workforce who come into close contact with others. The social distancing suggestions from the CDC, and in many cases the directives from governmental authority’s for closure of all non-essential business, in conjunction with stay at home orders to restrain the spread of this virus, has effectively put us all out of business temporarily.
The APT is a Business League, (or Trade Association) the Board of Directors is made up of independent practitioners who work in this Trade, and as such, have intimate knowledge of the reaction of the customer base associated with our Trade, we know first hand that some clients are choosing to disregard both social distancing recommendations, and stay at home policies. We know, through our own social media platforms, and shared social media platforms, the mixed reactions of tattoo artists across the nation to the situation we find ourselves in, and the deep personal economic conflicts associated with this stay at home policy.
Every member of this current Board shares this emotion, every member of this current board has temporarily suspended their practice ...however, this current board feels strongly that the ideologies of the “business league” is to advocate for “best practices” and not to demand it, or attempt to police the Trade.
The APT, and the business league concept has never been an attempt to police the Trade, in fact it’s just the opposite, we represent the independent practitioners, and their right’s to operate independently, we don’t write legislation, we monitor legislation, and proposed legislation, with the intent to bring a unified voice of the practitioners to the discussion, in and as it relates to legislative oversight of our Trade, our belief is regulation is inevitable, but it should be fair, sane, and enforceable. And our Trade should have a seat at the table.
We advocate for education within our ranks as professional tattooists; respectful training of apprentices who are worthy candidates for our Trade, and oppose the indiscriminate tattoo schools who fleece the public with no regard for the craft. We advocate for the same protections extended to other Skilled Trades, and oppose the licensing, or permitting of individuals who have no practical experience.
And so it comes back around full circle in regards to the COVID-19 issue, to the legally licensed and permitted artists, and establishments who operate independently in this Trade:
We, the current Board of Directors of the APT, urge you to exhibit professional conscience and character; follow the regulations as they apply in your respective localities. Those who choose to break the laws -- those who choose to disregard local regulations have always existed even before this current situation, and for the most part have thrived, because local oversight authorities have chosen to ignore their existence.
Perhaps the already illegal Tattoo underground will explode in size and scope in this current situation, the Alliance of Professional Tattooists hopes that is not the case, as we have always questioned why legislators make regulations and some local oversight authorities hardly ever apply it to the illegal practitioners that abound in their localities. Perhaps this current situation will facilitate some change in this arena, as the regulatory tools already exist for enforcement, and the current situation highlights the shortcomings of the regulatory enforcement process of so-called, ”underground illegal tattooing.”
And we maintain: the situation highlights the example of the consummate professionals who will always dominate this Trade, and this Professional Trade Association.
The Alliance of Professional Tattooists urges everyone to stay safe, and remain vigilant. Please join the conversation on our social media https://www.facebook.com/safe.tattoo and although this situation may persist longer than we might be reasonably comfortable with, please keep in mind, this situation is only temporary.