Tattoo shops left behind during COVID-19

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Inkk Culture Tattoo in Jackson is asking state leaders to re-define essential businesses so they can open their doors.

While big corporations are seeing a decent pay-out, some small businesses like Inkk Culture Tattoo don’t qualify for assistance.

Josh and Kamberly Ledford, owners of the shop, said when they were forced to close, they had to cancel more than 100 appointments and lost several thousand dollars. The shop had just opened late August, early September of last year.

“It was upsetting, mainly,” Kamberly explained. “It wasn’t the fact we just opened, I actually considered my artists and this is a lot of their only income.”

Kamberly said there’s no way to make up for the funds lost. She tried to apply for loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA) but did not qualify because tattoo artists are deemed “independent contractors.”

“Even with my bank, even though I have a business account through them, they’re not qualifying me because I don’t have actual employees to show proof of them… and then when it comes to unemployment we’re considered self-employed so we’re not eligible for unemployment.” 

These challenges are the reason they want city and state officials to let them re-open.

“I think the state should look further into what businesses should be open, what their protocol is… especially businesses that already have to be looked over by the department of health… like tattoo shops that already use a certain standard of sanitizing and gloves. A lot of these protocols we already use,” Josh said.

Josh and Kamberly said whenever they do get the chance to open they plan to provide masks, check temperatures and have artists work six feet apart.

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