Tattoo shop owner shut down before grand opening, prepares to open with new guidelines

BEATTYVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - Another step in Phase One of Healthy at Work starts Monday, May 25. That's barbershops, hair salons, and, added in later, tattoo parlors that will be allowed to reopen with a list of restrictions.

Rebekkah Early is planning to open the Red River Tattoo Company in the first week of June, and they are already accepting appointments.

For one tattoo shop owner, it will be the first time she ever opens.

"We were ready for inspections, for the Board of Health to come in and inspect us to give us our license and to open when they shut everything down," Red River Tattoo Company Owner Rebekkah Early said.

Early was nearing the end of renovating a new place for her Red River Tattoo Company when COVID-19 hit.

So, instead of a grand opening, March brought delays from suppliers and financial struggles.

Months later, as Governor Andy Beshear started announcing businesses could open back up, tattoo parlors still didn't make the cut.

"Some of us give Board of Health seminars on our cleanliness, on cross-contamination, we got through all of this," Early said. "So, why barbers and salons and anybody else were allowed to open and tattoo shops weren't in that category was beyond me."

Until, finally, they were added to the May 25 reopening date.

"That didn't give a lot of tattoo shops enough time to get all of the necessary equipment needed to open," Early said. "A lot of shops have either closed one hundred percent or they will struggle to try to get everything before May 25."

It's made Early feel like tattoo artists have been left to fade into the background. But, she's determined to have her shop up and running the first week of June, hoping to remain as permanent a part of her community as her very first customer's tattoo.

Red River Tattoo Company will only be accepting appointments. Customers will have to wait in their cars until it is their time and will be required to wear a mask while they get their tattoos.

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