COVID-19 tattoos popular as parlours in North Bay enjoy strong demand after reopening

As we start to transition out of the pandemic, Don Brieuz, the shop manager at DeadCity Tattoo Company, says his clients are looking to get tattoos related to COVID-19.

"They come up with these cheeky little COVID tattoos that they want," Brieuz said. "It could be something small that means something to them."

After such a momentous time in history, he said his customers have many reasons why they want a COVID-related tattoo.

"Maybe they went through it, so they get something to remind them they went through it," Brieuz said. "When hospitals closed and they couldn’t see their loved ones, so there’s sometimes a tie between that."

The Ford government gave the green light for tattoo shops to re open on June 29, but DeadCity took the week to reschedule appointments, and didn’t welcome back clients until Wednesday.

"Our phones are always ringing. It’s been absolutely crazy -- we get blown away," said Brieuz. "For the last three weeks, I have been booking solid -- we’re up to 30 or 40 messages a day."

"People who missed their appointment, they’re our priority first, so we’re trying to book them first."

A few blocks over at Inklined Studios, owner Jennifer Saile told CTV News it’s the same story for her and her team. They’ve been booked solid with appointments since the day they were able to reopen.

"We’re very, very busy -- booked solid from the time we open to the time we close," Saile said.

"We have people calling asking if they can come in right now, but unfortunately with COVID, we can only work with appointments."

For Saile, a perk to owning a small business is creating her own hours. She said her team plans to operate on different hours if needed, to ensure they get in as many clients as possible each day.

"We can come in earlier in the morning, we can stay later at night, we can open every Saturday if we choose," she said. "They are artists, so we don’t want them to become tired, we want everyone to get their best work. But we can space our clients out the way we prefer, which gives us a lot of flexibility to accommodate everyone."