D.C. tattoo waiting period is rejected, health department says


Angela Diorio, of McLean, Va., has work done to her back tattoo by James Haun of Fatty’s Custom Tattoz & body piercing at the 2013 DC Tattoo Expo in Arlington. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Nearly eight months ago, the D.C. health department created a stir by publishing draft regulations for tattoo and body-piercing parlors that included a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before those businesses could provide their services.

The idea, department spokeswoman Najma Roberts said at the time, was to make sure “when that decision is made that you’re in the right frame of mind, and you don’t wake up in the morning … saying, ‘Oh my God, what happened?’”

But city tattoo artists and their patrons revolted, saying reputable businesses already turn away intoxicated customers and that the regulations were needlessly nannying.

It turns out those arguments, Roberts said Thursday, have prevailed: “The 24-hour regulations have been knocked out,” she said.

Still, it is unclear when the rest of the regulations, which include health and safety standards for “body art” establishments, will be finalized. While a 30-day comment period for the proposed rules closed in October, those comments remain under review by agency lawyers, Roberts said.

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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