Do Tattoo Shops Have a First Amendment Right To Remain Open During a Pandemic?
On March 19, the Ohio Department of Health ordered the closure of “hair salons, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body piercing locations, and massage therapy locations” as part of the state’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. Nearly two months later, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that hair salons and barber shops would be allowed to reopen shortly, so long as they followed various social distancing and public health requirements.
There was no mention of letting tattoo artists get back to work. “We were closed with salons, barbers, tanning salons and the like,” the Oxford, Ohio, tattooist Steve Cupp told WLWT5. “And we assumed once they opened, considering the proximity they have to their clients and the proximity that we have to ours, that we would be reopened with them. But we were excluded.” The state eventually announced that tattoo shops would finally be allowed to reopen on May 15.
This sort of government action raises some interesting legal questions, especially for the numerous tattoo parlors that remain shuttered in other states. Do tattoo artists have a case to make against coronavirus closure orders? Does the Constitution protect a tattoo shop’s right to remain open—at least in some limited fashio
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