Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Bravo on Berlin accord

It was hard not to be moved on Monday night in Berlin, when 40 minutes of vigorous debate ended in a compromise and those in attendance broke out into spontaneous applause over the outcome. It’s the kind of thing you dream about seeing in Washington, but only really happens in Frank Capra films.  
A large group of tattoo artists and enthusiasts turned up at the Town Council meeting to oppose implementation of emergency standards. Someone recently inquired about opening a related business in Berlin and town officials, realizing town code did not address tattoo safety standards, quickly sought to do so.
The ordinance would have adopted the same standards Worcester County uses, requiring the presence of a physician or osteopath during tattooing or tattoo-related activities, like microblading. Those who opposed the ordinance said the code was far too stringent, while town officials argued not passing any standards would encourage an enterprising “ne’er-do-well” to take advantage of the town.
Mayor Gee Williams passionately argued about protecting the townspeople, while others, like tattoo artist Matthew Amey, passionately defended the practice and how far it has come.
Proponents of tattooing made the point, and rightly so, the practice isn’t the seedy business it once was considered to be. For one, there’s little danger if a trained professional in a clean shop is doing the work, and many, including Amey, see tattoos as an art form no different that painting and sculpture. For others, it’s therapeutic to be able to cover scars caused by injury or severe illness.    
The two sides struck a deal, putting a temporary moratorium on tattoo businesses, while forming a new committee, to include Amey, to work on a set of standards everyone could agree on.
If all goes well, Berlin could soon be the only place in Worcester County – or the better part of the region, for that matter – which allows for safe, legal tattooing with standards drafted by both town officials and the artists behind the ink.