An ordinance requiring tattoo parlors and other body art businesses to meet minimum health and safety standards, as well restricting where they can operate and who can operate them, was approved Tuesday by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
The measure, which will be enforced by the county’s Department of Environmental Health, will take effect in 30 days and apply to the approximately 100 body artists with operations in the county’s unincorporated areas and cities that do not have their own health agencies.
Under the ordinance, operators of body art facilities must obtain a county permit before opening their doors, must establish “exposure containment” plans that prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, and allow regular inspections by county personnel.
Individuals who have been convicted of any type of sex crime will be prohibited from operating a body art facility, and no business can be set up within 1,250 feet of a park, school “or other such locations where minors routinely congregate,” according to the measure. Businesses in operation before the ordinance was enacted are exempt from this restriction.
The new law also mandates that no one under 18 years old be allowed to receive a tattoo or body piercing without the authorization of a parent or legal guardian.
Shop owners will have to demonstrate adherence to sterilization procedures for body-piercing and tattooing equipment and ensure used products are properly discarded.
Violators will be subject to suspension or revocation of their permits and face fines up to $500.
The ordinance was drawn up about a year after the county’s grand jury criticized the Department of Environmental Health for a laxity in holding tattoo parlors and other body art businesses to tough standards.
According to the grand jury report, applications furnished by the department often failed to ensure that permanent cosmetics providers passed a safety class, obtained a facility permit, established an exposure containment plan and retained a copy of the county’s health code.