It’s been over a week since some business reopened, with more set to join the list on Friday. But for the tattoo and piercing industry, the closure has no end in sight.
Tattoo and piercing studios are some of the business still not allowed to reopen, but tattoo artists at Infamous Ink say their industry is safer than some of the opened ones on Governor Abbott’s list.
After being in business for nine years in Waco, Infamous Ink was forced to shutdown operations due to COVID-19.
“I take more risks to pick up food for my family than I would sitting in this shop working. So it's time that we work. It's time that we open," said tattoo artist and co-owner Zac Colbert.
Colbert says places like Infamous Ink have always had some of the strictest health requirements, keeping all procedures on file.
"We wear gloves. We wear masks. We wear safety gear, and these are all things that are required to carry just to be a licensed tattoo shop in the state of Texas alone from the pandemic," said Colbert.
Staffers like body piercer Tory Bikert says money is running short while she watches other businesses reopen.
"I feel like it's a slap in the face. As soon as theaters opened, I was like, "Really? Theaters can open and there's no social distancing there,"" she said.
Artists are considered independent contractors, so they've had trouble qualifying for grants and unemployment, leaving many throughout the state to consider joining other protesters in Dallas.
"Having your voice heard sometimes is the only way that people actually listen. I think that that's the only way that change can happen," said Infamous Ink co-owner Chonna Colbert.
Aside from tattoos and piercings, Infamous Ink is known for its annual Ink for Autism fundraiser. Now managers say they're the ones who need the community's help to reopen.
"We want people to understand that we're here as a local small business and just want to be given the same rights as everybody else," said Chonna.
Infamous Ink owners say they've reached out to state representatives offering to sit down with them and hopefully find a way to more quickly and safely reopen businesses like theirs.