SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Red Handed Tattoo shop owner, Micah Harold isn’t opening back up for business until phase 3 of reopening for the state, but that’s not stopping him from still doing what he calls essential work.
Even with the shop being considered an unessential business, Harold says they’re technically one of the most qualified to handle a pandemic. They have to practice safety measures while providing services to clients who may have HIV, hepatitis or any other blood-borne pathogens. This in turn means they have to constantly supply themselves with personal protective equipment (PPE).
“We’re breaking the skin, we’re going into people’s skin and putting ink in there. What we need are chemicals that will disinfect all our surfaces. We need to be able to keep ourselves safe, and we need to have proper PPE for that,” said Harold, “So I re-appropriated all my efforts from tattooing to fighting disease.”
He found that a lot of the elderly and immune-compromised in the city weren’t able to provide themselves with basic supplies like toilet paper, sanitation and alcohol so he started to give his stock away. After a huge public response, people started donating for him to keep giving supplies away. Alongside donations, he goes out to scour the city for supplies to give away for free.
He has gathered items like anti-viral goggles to handmade cloth masks created by local seamstresses. Some masks have pockets that you can place carbon filters in, and he’s given away N95 masks to hospitals that he says will keep out anything the size of 0.3 of a micron.
“People like tattooers have been studying blood-borne pathogens, CPR, first aid and all these things that are required of us from the state to do in order to tattoo other people,” said Harold, “So how could you put your foot on the necks of tattooers, when you could really put them to use? We’re a no dogs, no masters type industry anyway. To tell you the truth, most tattooers are going to do what most tattooers want to do, which for me is helping other people.”
Harold says it’s an ignorant decision to keep tattooers down during this time when they could be serving a purpose, and not just for keeping their doors open to provide for the small businesses.
He’s been in his Shreveport location for about six years, but he’s been operating in Shreveport as a tattoo artist since 1999. He says he doesn’t care if you’re left, right or what you look like because if you need help he wants to help you.
He’s also providing canned foods for those in need as well as cat and dog food for animals. He’s been giving water donated by Music Mountain Water which is a local supplier. Everything coming into the tattoo parlor has to be sterilized. He has a designated zone for any and all money, donations and other supplies coming in are properly disinfected.
Harold has about 312 hours worth of tattoos on his body.