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Rumford tattoo shop pushes state to open early amid coronavirus pandemic

Owner Kris Howes said his tattoo shop will not survive if he has to wait until July to reopen amid the coronavirus, COVID-19.

RUMFORD, Maine — Editor’s note: You've probably heard the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means. 

According to Governor Janet Mills' plan, tattoo shops are not allowed to open until July.

"We feel like we should be able to open before we lose everything," said Ink Maine owner Kris Howes.

Kris Howes said his tattoo shop in Rumford will not survive if he has to wait until July to reopen.

"When push comes to shove, you have to do what you can to survive," said Howes.

It's why he has come up with a plan to open his business 'Ink Maine' June 1.

"It not only gives me time to prepare, it gives the state time to overlook our plan," said Howes.

He sent his plan Thursday, after numerous attempts to get in touch with the state.

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"One list is how we would change our tattoo procedures, how we do what we can to protect ourselves and our clients," said Howes.

Mark Richards is a chairperson of the Maine Association For Safe Tattooing. He also owns a tattoo shop called 'Broken Crow Collective' in Portland. He said he sees where Howes is coming from and agrees shops should open early.

"We're more prepared than any other industry out there to handle this in a safe manner because of our prior certifications and what we have to have in order to be licensed," said Richards.

We reached out to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. A spokesperson said in part they:

"...welcome the engagement of businesses that believe they can modify their operations and implement protocols that protect the health and safety of their customers and employees. The department will take into consideration their suggestions."

Howes said he doesn't plan on breaking any laws, but said he will do whatever he can to protect his livelihood.

You can read his full plan here.

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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