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Tattoo and Body Piercing Studios


Texas Executive Orders & Public Health Disaster Declaration


On May 18, 2020 Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-23, relating to the expanded opening of Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster, and lists tattoo and body piercing studios as a “covered service” that may re-open starting immediately for all Texas counties except Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter, and Randall counties. Tattoo and body piercing studios in those counties may not open until 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 29, 2020. Opening of tattoo and body piercing studios under Executive Order GA-23 requires all persons either providing or obtaining a “covered service” to use good-faith efforts and available resources to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Please refer to the protocols outlined in the State of Texas’ Minimum Standard Health Protocols Checklists for Massage and Other Personal-Care and Beauty Services and Customers. The checklists can be found at the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas. Please review both lists thoroughly to ensure the safety of your employees and customers. These protocols, in addition to the Laws and Rules required to operate tattoo and body piercing studios, must be followed. Additional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 may be taken in your studio based on your best judgement to maintain the safety of your employees and customers from COVID-19.  

On May 5, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-21 relating to the expanded reopening of services as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster. The order states that people shall avoid visiting businesses including, but not limited to, tattoo and body piercing studios.

On April 27, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued additional Executive Orders to continue the process of re‑opening the state of Texas.  Executive Order GA-18 focuses on retail businesses and restaurants. Tattoo studios and body piercing studios shall continue to remain closed.  For further clarification, see the Guidance Letter About Reopening Non-Essential Businesses Regarding GA-18 released by the Texas Attorney General, which addresses questions relating to Executive Order GA-18. The Governor's order overrides conflicting local and county orders.

On March 31, 2020, Gov. Abbott issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols. The protocols renew the Governor's directive to avoid eating or drinking inside at bars, restaurants, and food courts, although use of drive-thru, pickup, and delivery for food is highly encouraged. The order prohibits visiting gyms or massage establishments, and expands to include tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons. It also extends social distancing measures to April 30, 2020, and schools will remain closed to in-person classroom attendance through May 4, 2020.


The Drugs and Medical Devices Group is responsible for ensuring that tattoo and body piercing studios, including temporary locations, comply with minimum licensing standards established to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Texas. In order to accomplish this objective, inspections of studios and temporary locations are conducted. If voluntary compliance with the licensing standards cannot be achieved, the Group recommends regulatory actions when necessary. In addition, the Group provides technical assistance to its licensees, answers inquiries from consumers and investigates complaints involving possible violations of the state requirements for operating tattoo and body piercing studios.


Licensing

We require any business that is engaged in tattooing (i.e., the practice of producing an indelible mark or figure on the human body by scarring or inserting pigments under the skin using needles, scalpels, or other related equipment) or body piercing (i.e., the practice of creating an opening in a person's body, other than the individual's earlobe, to insert jewelry or another decoration) to be licensed with the Department of State Health Services. In addition, we require temporary locations at which tattooing or body piercing is performed for not more than seven days in conjunction with a single event or celebration to be licensed with the Department. Please see the licensing requirements page for more information on how to become licensed.


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Contact Information

For General Program Assistance

Email: Drugs and Medical Devices Group
Phone: (512) 834-6755
Fax: (512) 834-6759


For Licensing Assistance

Email: Drugs and Food Safety Licensing Group
Phone: (512) 834-6727
Fax: (512) 834-6741

Mailing addresses may be found on the contact page.

Last updated May 19, 2020