Some business owners frustrated they’ve been left out of Phase 1 of reopening

Owners of tattoo parlors, daiquiri shops upset they're excluded from Phase 1 of reopening

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Many business owners say they’re upset they’re not allowed to open their doors in Phase 1 of reopening.

“Since everything kind of hit the wall, we’ve been in limbo,” said Daniel Messen, owner of Black Torch Tattoo.

Messen’s business was forced to close during the governor’s stay-at-home order. He says he believes tattoo shops aren’t allowed to open because tattoos are still not widely accepted.

“We kind of feel a little bit attacked that everyone gets to open and we can’t. A lot of people may not like tattoos, but that does not mean we should be forgotten. We have families, we have bills, we have children, and that is not forgotten,” he said.

Dr. Alex Billioux with the Louisiana Department of Health provided some insight in a recent press conference on how they determined which businesses will open and which will remain closed. He says they based the decision on how often and how intense contact is when a service is provided, and if that contact can be modified. However, Messen explains that tattoo artists often go through rigorous training to help eliminate the spread of infectious diseases.

“Dental offices touch the inside of your mouth, nail techs touch your hands, stylists touch your hair. We treat everyone as if they have a disease. We’ve been trained for that since day one. If we’re only allowed to have one or two people in the shop, that’s what we will do just like everyone else,” Messen said.

Tattoo shop owners are not the only ones who say they feel excluded. Allen Cope owns CJ’s Daiquiris. He says he’s at a loss as to why the governor is only allowing bars and daiquiri shops with a food license to reopen.

“That’s just too rigid of a line and that just really cuts us out. What makes us less safe than them? It just doesn’t make sense to why I can’t open and they can... for a food license that has no bearing over the safety we can provide for our employees or our customers,” Cope said.

These business owners and fathers say they feel their livelihoods are in jeopardy. Both business owners say they have not been told which phase they fall in or when they will be able to reopen.

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