Save the Tattoo Industry in Canada: Safe Opening Plan & Equal Access to Funding

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The Canadian Government as a whole has neglected and completely ignored the Tattoo industry. Since COVID-19 forced our businesses to close we have provided with NO FINANCIAL SUPPORT (CEBA Loans), many of our businesses are not getting rent support from our landlords, and now we don't know where we fit in the plans to reopen the economy: 

We're tired of being ignored, we're tired of feeling like our leaders don't see us or don't care. We are tired of asking for help and getting pushed off to someone else within the government system. 
We have come to you, as a united front of Tattoo Shop Owners, Tattoo Artists, our clients, our friends, our families & ALL the other industries Canada's Governments' have neglected, and dismissed as unimportant and invisible with a PLAN and a request for our leaders to actually help us Save our Industries and our Families.

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The Tattoo Studio Safe Re-Opening Plan 

We want to clearly state these are TEMPORARY measures on top of existing safety standards and procedures and that we are not changing the existing regulations & these are to be used within reason on a shop by shop basis as a single artist shop by appointment only, may not require many all of the following. 
Or a walk in based shop may need to adapt by having clients wait in their vehicles and call the shop to allowed in for a walk in appointment 

Employee and Client Safety Measures (Phase 1)

-Employees and Clients must use the Pre Screening Self Assessment tool, Phone Call or Email,

-Clients should be encouraged to complete their liability waivers online within 24 hours to limit contact 

-Employees must stay home if presenting symptoms of COVID-19

-Employees must be in good health with no symptoms of COVID-19, have not travelled by air or out of province for 14 days. 

-Clients must be in good health with no symptoms of COVID-19, have not travelled by air or out of province for 14 days. 
 
-Employees and clients must immediately don facial masks upon entry to the studio. Clients must take off masks after leaving the studio. Employees will follow appropriate standards on disposal of PPE.  

-Studios will be open by appointment only. No walk-in foot traffic or friends/family/spectators will be permitted. The studio doors will be locked at all times except to let clients in.  

-Customer consultations will be done virtually online to reduce the number of visits into the studio.

-Tattooing and piercing around the nose and mouth will not be permitted during this time as clients would have to remove protective masks for the procedure.

-Food and drink is not permitted at work stations. Clients may take a break in the lobby to drink or eat a snack, wash hands and return to the appointment with mask on.

-Appointments should be staggered for adherence to recommended physical distancing guidelines. 

-Businesses should post external signs indicating COVID-19 physical distancing protocols, along with floor markings where services are offered or lines form.

-Businesses should maintain a single point of entry.

-Hand sanitizer is available at entrances and exits for public and staff use.

-No more than 10 people may gather in common areas. Congregation of people should be actively discouraged.

-Washrooms have frequent sanitization and a regime for business sanitization is in place.

-Magazine racks and toys are removed and play areas in waiting rooms are closed.

-Onsite snack bars, coffee bars and other confectionery style counters are closed.

-Cashless or no-contact payment should be used to the greatest extent possible.

 

Documentation 

-Revised client release forms affirm that there are no symptoms of COVID-19.

-Release forms may be signed online during this time to reduce handling of surfaces in the studio. These release forms could still be printed out in copy and stored physically onsite as we already do per Health Board Guidelines.

-Client follow up at 7, 14 and 30 days could be utilized to check up on the health of the client. This reporting could be forwarded to local health officers. After 30 days, if we aren't seeing an increase in COVID-like infections from the clients we interact with, we would move on to our "Phase 2". 

 

Studio Environment

Each Province's body artists will continue to maintain infection control guidelines and standards that have been in place in our studios for decades as set by our municipal health regulations to minimize the risk of exposure to BBP and other potentially infectious material and disease. Our studios have already been designed to have safe flow of traffic, safe engineering controls built into our studio design and staff trained in work practice controls to operate safely. 

-Staff will continue to clean and disinfect all environmental surfaces with appropriate commercial disinfectants before and after daily opening to the public and after each client interaction. 

-Staff will continue to utilize disposable  barriers for work surfaces, client areas and for application equipment including machine and clipcord bags, drape sheets and dental bibs, etc. 

-Inks, disinfectants, disposable needles and tubes and other critical items will continue to be handled and stored in a safe way, as per Health Guidelines and standards; the same as we have always done. 

-Home Based studios are not included in this proposed Phase 1 as transparency for day to day operations cannot be effectively monitored by the public or public health officers. 

-Workstations are kept two metres apart and are sanitized between patrons.

-All workstations and regularly touched surfaces (door knobs, light switches etc) must be sanitized in between each service with provincially-approved disinfectant products.

Phase 2 is dependant upon the statistical analysis in Phase 1 that would indicate that there are no further infections or potential exposure related to our industry from visiting clients after 30 days in operation.
Phase 2 would see the same strategies as Phase 1 and see potential loosening in client interactions. (After 30 days approx.)  
We would continue to align ourselves with authorities in recommendations for social distancing. 


Loosening policies would be: 

-Clients could come into the studio with appropriate PPE and hand-washing and have an in-person consultation for an artist that may need a physical tracing of a limb for a tattoo stencil. 

-Children and minors as clients with accompanying parents could be permitted into the studio for piercing at this time. 

-Discussion of tattooing and piercing in the nose and mouth area could be examined **If our protocols implemented in phase one continue to level the curve, we would allow facial piercings.

-Home Based studios are not included in this proposed Phase 2 as transparency for day to day operations cannot be effectively monitored by the public or public health officers.


Phase 3 would see further loosening with accepting of walk-in clients, (still following protocols of client release for the last 60 days)

-Optional, but preferred face covering (if that meets recommendations of each Provincial health department) 

-Friends of clients attending appointments with respect to capacity numbers and recommended distancing.

An additional measure for Tattooers to ensure safety to be used at discretion of individuals: 
- Take the online training course provided on WHO.org on the Corona Virus 

NEXT: 

Non Traditional Business models need to be included in the ability to apply for financial assistance: 

It has come to our attention that the CEBA loan, meant as a solution offered to small businesses within Canada, is not inclusive to many in our industries. We have been deemed non-essential and we can’t offer our services from home. There is no PIVOTING in our businesses.

The way the CEBA is structured right now means you have deemed our industry as non worthy of help, because we don’t operate like every other businesses. But We are NO less important. We pay our taxes and contribute to our communities. We are ineligible due to the way we operate our businesses; our industry is full of self employed contractors who pay for their space within our businesses and therefore we don’t have payroll and our artists don’t receive a T-4 come tax season. But our businesses are no less valuable and no less deserving as all other businesses within Canada. 

The CEBA needs to provide EXCEPTIONS or be re-structured to include businesses like ours so we can continue to exist and so that when we can return to work, hair stylists, barbers, nail techs, waxers, tattoo artists, makeup artists etc have somewhere to return to. 

We DESERVE to be able to fight for our businesses, to be eligible for the same loans as all other small businesses, to be included and SEEN. 

Furthermore. with the announcement of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, we want to make sure that we are included in decision making. Avoid the mistakes made in CEBA. Small businesses are the most vulnerable right now and we need to make sure are all included in access to loans, assurances we will not be evicted, and a commitment to in including our industry in all existing and future programs. The Government needs to MANDATE landlords across the country participate in the rent assistance program as it has been made very apparent that landlords don't want to receive 75% when they can still make 100%

the above was written by:

Memphis Mori of Grim City Tattoo Club (Hamilton) 

Tina Puedmag of Puedmag Inkpire (Toronto)

We may have been deemed non-essential and overall, because we are not "NEEDED" but our industries help millions of people everyday - get jobs, heal from trauma, not self harm or think about suicide, we are therapists, we see people at their most vulnerable, at their most dark places and offer them a chance to heal. We provide people with a way to look and feel great about themselves, we help build confidence, we help people find themselves and express themselves. We may seem like vain industries but we give people control over their lives, and to our clients: we are VALUABLE, we are NEEDED, we are ESSENTIAL.

This petition is created by

Memphis Mori of Grim City Tattoo Club in Hamilton Ontario, Covered Tattoo & Art Expo Toronto and Sullen Clothing Canada

with help from:

Steve Peace of Tattooday Studio in Calgary Alberta, Alberta Bound Tattoo & Arts Festival Edmonton & Calgary and TattooDay App

With Thanks to 

Tina Puedmag of Puedmag Inkpire in Toronto Ontario, Puedmag Tattoo Cartridges and Puedmag Tattoo Aftercare 

Lexci Krahn of Health Educators and Red Loon Tattoo & Piercing ltd. Alberta