Tattoo shops in Toronto are bracing for huge demand as they prepare to open
With Phase 2 of reopening perhaps just around the corner for Toronto, tattoo shops are getting ready.
"I can't wait to get back into the groove of things," said Ion Nicolae, owner of Black Line Studios.
As part of the province's reopening plan, tattoo shops are slated to open along with hair salons, barber shops and day spas.
"I'm still not sure when that's going to be. I heard a rumour it could be next week but that's probably a little ambitious," said Eric Newstead owner of The Okey Doke Tattoo Shop.
Currently, tattoo shops are still waiting on official guidelines on what they will and won't need to do in order to reopen.
But in the meantime, many are starting to prepare by buying personal protective equipment for staff and customers along with changing up the protocols.
Newstead told blogTO how their shop won't be accepting walk-ins or guests, cell phones will have to be put away, and everything will be sanitized between appointments.
Black Line Studios is doing much of the same and said they're also going to be checking the temperatures of staff and customers when they come in.
And customers are ready to go back.
"I've had so many people reach out for a sneaky tattoo [during the pandemic]," said Newstead.
"Our phones don't stop ringing and asking if we're back open. Our emails are flooded, there's so many comments on Facebook and Instagram. There's a huge waiting list," added Nicolae.
But Newstead and Nicolae both fear that people won't be receptive to the new normal and that the financial issues they've been dealing with these last few months will only get worse.
"I'm worried about business coming back. We'll always have customers but I'm more worried about people being afraid to get a tattoo," said Newstead.
Nicolae is also worried about sustaining his business as well as the general vibe of the shop.
"My worry is about the experience itself. The feeling is not going to be there," Nicolae explained, referring to that palpable feeling of fun and excitement that comes with getting new ink.
"Now it's going to be a really strict business and that's definitely going to impact on how the industry itself will be perceived."
But as with everything else I'm sure people will adjust.
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