My name is Cathy and I am owner of two tattoo shops. I am proud to say we had 10 Tattoo Artists working within our 2 shops as independent subcontractors, along with 3 employees.

When we first started hearing about Corona Virus, we were just ending our slow season (November through mid February) looking forward to what we now as the start of peak season. By the second week of March we were all going to die due to this fast spreading virous. We decided to stop tattooing a few days prior to Gov. Sununu’s announcement of closing for five weeks and re-open May 4th. I went through the numbers and thought it would be tight due to just opening our second shop Jan 28th, 2020 in Salem, NH but we would survive.

The announcement of all these grants, stimulus money, unemployment etc. started giving us hope. I did receive the stimulus and a few others did too, but not everyone. I helped several of the artists with their unemployment and we all have filed faithfully but only one has received payments. I have not. I did receive a $2,000 grant from the IRS after 5 weeks and split that between a few that were really hurting.

May 4th changed to May 11th and then I heard Governor Sununu’s reply to a voice asking, “will the tattoo shops open May 11th?” With a look of disgust, he replied, “No, no we aren’t there yet. I haven’t seen anything…” and on to the next question. Nothing more to share but he has that he will reply to birthday wishes. What?

I sent an email, I wrote a letter, I sent an exposure process for tattoo shops, I attended the Live Free or Die Rally, I have signed several petitions and I just keep thinking who is deciding what is essential and what is nonessential. McDonalds is not essential, Starbucks is not essential, and etc.

Now Hair Salons & Barber Shops are opening, but not Tattoo Shops. The State has always grouped Hair Salons Barber Shops, and Tattoo Shops as one category.

I did not work 80 plus hours a week to lose it all in a couple of months! I applied for the SBA and signed for the LOAN—not a grant. In my humble opinion they want to offer you the loan to put your workers back to work and off unemployment, but then I pay back the loan after not having any income, and still waiting for my unemployment check.

What is going on? How is this happening? Do I stand up and open this week? I just don’t know how they can paint people that are trying to get by making a legal living as uncaring about everyone; that we are the problem, we are going to spread the virus for our selfish needs. I am anything but selfish and I just do not want to see my artists and their families hurting when they can be safely earning a living at what they love to do: tattooing.

Catherine Roberts
Nashua , NH

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