DC Dept. of Health Gives Up On Seeking 24-Hour Wait for Tattoos, Piercings

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Archive photo of a person getting a tattoo.  (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

Archive photo of a person getting a tattoo. (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — The D.C. Department of Health has abandoned its efforts to instate a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for people looking to get inked or pierced, according to spokeswoman Najma Roberts.

Regulations proposed in September by the department director would have made District body art and piercing shops require a 24-hour wait between a customer’s request of a tattoo or piercing and the actual application of a tattoo or piercing.

Paul Roe, owner of Britishink Tattoos and member of the DC Board of Barber and Cosmetology, says there were more than 5,000 public comments on the issue after the proposal was released last year.

From the moment he read the 24-hour regulation, “… I knew that this would never be enforceable, ever,” Roe says. He had some other problems with the 66-page document, as well, including section 303.2 that states:

If a body artist has reason to suspect that a customer may have a communicable
disease, skin diseases or other conditions posing public health concerns, the body
artist shall:

(a) Deny the customer service and recommend the customer be examined by a
licensed health care provider; or

(b) Cease a body art procedure that is in-process and recommend the customer
be examined by a licensed health care provider.

He believes the 24-hour waiting period to be unconstitutional the communicable disease restriction to be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Roe is now working, along with the rest of the board, “to propose some plain language regulations [that are] understandable by the public and the practitioners,” he says.

“We have the opportunity here to craft model regulations in the nation’s capital. We have the opportunity to set the standard… I think public comment will be overwhelmingly favorable.”

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