By LINDSAY CAREY
Two representatives from two different tattoo parlors in town spoke at the public hearing for a tattoo ordinance at the Board of Health committee meeting on Feb. 12. The two representatives from the tattoo parlors in Southington who spoke were in favor of the ordinance, and only offered some amendments to the language in the document that they felt was either outdated or unnecessary.
The Plainville-Southington Regional Health District created this ordinance in order to insure that tattoo shops in Southington are following the appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of clients.
Some of the regulations in the ordinance included making sure all artists are licensed, using appropriate materials and cleanliness procedures to protect clients.
Both representatives from the different shops felt that the use of the word “sterile” in the document in some cases did not apply to the materials and equipment being used. The Board of Health agreed to make amendments to remove the word “sterile” from some parts of the document.
However, the main topic of discussion was in the hand-washing portion of the ordinance. The ordinance suggested that each work station needed to have a sink, so artists can have easy access to washing. Paul Valdes from Vanity Rites Tattoo & Body Art in Southington said that he felt this would be a difficult task for tattoo parlors depending on the layout of their facility.
Following some discussion and clarification from Valdes, the board decided that as long as existing shops have a “sink is in close proximity” to each artist, but not necessarily at each work station, that would be acceptable. However, new tattoo parlors to open in town will be expected to install a sink at each station.
Valdes and the other representative David Nielson from Phoenix Ink Tattoo in Plantsville asked that the sink regulation be grandfathered, in order to give existing shops some time to hire plumbers and do the work.
“Fortunate for Vanity Rites, they are already in compliance with this already with sink washing in certain areas, but we know other studios may not have been set up that way at their inception,” said Valdes. “As a small business owner, you can just have a plumber come in, especially during this time of year, and start constructing cleaning stations at every station that an artist may use.”
The Board of Health agreed to grandfather the sink regulation and will be granting existing tattoo parlors in Southington one year to be in compliance with the regulation.
“We would certainly be willing to work with them over a period of months to get a sink in there,” said Plainville-Southington Director of Health Shane Lockwood.
On the other hand, any new tattoo parlors that open in town would be expected to comply from the start. There will be no grace period.
Other than making some small changes in wording, the Board of Health was able to pass the tattoo ordinance without opposition.