Tattoo shops in Tampa, Hillsborough County left in limbo following Gov. DeSantis' order

Posted at 11:03 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 07:20:57-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Tattoo artists in Tampa and Hillsborough County say their livelihoods are in limbo as local leaders force them to remain closed.

"We can make almost half of the money that we’ll make for the year in those two months," said Jeff Ziozios, owner of Bay City Tattoo. "For us to lose March and April was a big deal because that’s the money we live on in October when it’s slow."

This comes as leaders in Pinellas County allowed tattoo shops to reopen this week. The sheriff and county administrator announced Monday that they are also allowing movie theaters and massage businesses to open as well.

"No job should be considered nonessential if it puts food on somebody’s table. And that’s really the end of it," said Ziozios, quoting Mississippi's governor.

It comes down to how local governments interpret the state's phase one of reopening.

According to Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill's office, the Emergency Planning Group is aligning with the Governor's Orders.

"County Attorney Christine Beck reviewed that latest Order during yesterday’s meeting and at this point we remain on that path for now -- any deviation from that path would be by EPG action," according to Merrill's office.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor tells ABC Action News reporter Ryan Smith, "Tattoo shops were just left off of the list...I believe that was inadvertent."

Mayor Castor said the issue will be discussed at Thursday's EPG meeting.