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Hillsborough County tattoo shops want to open up, Governor's office says not yet

Posted at 4:30 PM, May 22, 2020

YBOR CITY, Fla. — Tattoo shops seem to be a big topic of debate right now.

Pinellas County gave them the clearance to open up, under strict guidelines, on Tuesday. In Hillsborough County, some of them are open, but they haven’t gotten the go ahead.

RELATED: Movie theaters, tattoo and massage parlors allowed to reopen in Pinellas County

Tattoo shops are considered a personal care service, like hair and nail salons, but they are not mentioned specifically in the Governor’s Full Phase One order. The Governor’s office says, they have not given tattoo shops the green light.

“You comply as long as you can, but then it gets to a point to where, if I keep on complying I’m gonna be dying,” said Doc Baker, the owner of Las Vegas Tattoo in Ybor City.

Doc Baker and his wife Belle have owned Las Vegas Tattoo for over 17 years. Doc’s been in the business for nearly 60 years, it’s what they know how to do.

“I don’t know anything else, I know no other way to make a living,” said Baker.

They’ve got their doors open today, but they want clearance from the government to open for good.

“They’re just basically driving people underground, making criminals out of us,” said Baker.

In a statement from the Governor’s Office they say:

“Governor DeSantis has reopened businesses that can operate in a safe manner and he has not included tattoo parlors at this time.”

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

Tattoo shop owners argue that they do operate in a safe manner.

“We can do our job as well or better than any guidelines in any industry that’s out there right now,” said Jeffrey Ziozios, the owner of Bay City Tattoo in Ybor City.

Shop owners are calling on local officials to help them out.

“They had the power to close us. You closed us on March 25, you should have the power to reopen us,” said Ziozios.

But the Hillsborough County Attorney says they are following the Governor’s order, and that the county does not have the power to open tattoo shops back up.

We asked the Governor’s office what phase is reopening tattoo shops included in, and they tell us they do not have a time table.