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Some Arkansas hair salons, tattoo shops choose to keep COVID-19 guidelines



Arkansas — On Friday, Governor Hutchinson announced COVID-19 restrictions are now just guidelines for businesses, ultimately leaving the choice up to owners on social distancing policies.

Ashley Berry, manager of 7th Street Tattoos and Piercing, said they don’t plan on changing anything right now because the guidelines are working for them.

Salons, barbershops, and tattoo parlors were some of the first businesses to be shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

7th Street Tattoos and Piercing wants to keep their clients and employees safe, which is why they have the protocols in place and appointments only.

“You’re in close quarters when you are getting tattooed or pierced. You’re in people’s breathing space for extended periods of time,” said Berry. “We hope to one day get back to Saturdays we are doing nothing but walk-ins, because that’s like the environment of what a tattoo shop is,” said Berry.

That feeling reciprocated by hair stylists.

“I physically cannot social distance from the client sitting in my chair, and while we always wear masks and sanitize, there is a little margin of error there,” said Rachael Emerson, a hair stylist at Swank Hair Studio in West Little Rock.

Tattoo artists and hair stylists are not considered essential workers and will not be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine until it is available to the everyone.

Rachel is hoping to change that.

“We are writing letters to send to Governor Asa Hutchinson. I’ve also been putting things on social media just asking people to call and just ask him not to forget about us,” said Emerson. “I want to feel safe for myself and safe for my people.”