By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(May 10, 2018) Seeking to update Berlin’s decades-old tattoo laws, the town’s Tattoo Ordinance Committee is asking supporters to attend the next Monday’s mayor and council meeting starting at 7 p.m. at Town Hall on 10 William Street.
The committee was formed in response to discussion during a Town Council meeting last September, when the council considered an emergency ordinance that would require a doctor or osteopath to be present during any tattooing or microblading procedure.
After supporters of the tattoo industry argued that regulation was too restrictive, the council opted to impose a 120-day moratorium until a committee could be formed to explore other options. The moratorium was extended in January and the committee will seek a second extension on Monday Night, according to Town Administrator Laura Allen.
Serving on the Tattoo Ordinance Committee are councilmen Zack Tyndall and Dean Burrell, tattooists Matt Amey and Dana Helmuth, and resident Patricia Dufendach.
“We will also be asking for the mayor and Town Council’s support in our efforts to approach the county commissioners in their role as directors of the Worcester County Health Department,” Amey, the committee chairman, said after a meeting last week.
“The health department currently mandates inspections for skin penetrating body adornment, but it does not have any inspection mandate for tattoo establishments.”
Amey encouraged Berlin residents to attend the next Town Council meeting. He emailed a statement last Friday.
“As one of Maryland’s Arts and Entertainment Districts, Berlin is an example of a thriving creative community who supports all types of artistic expression. However, Worcester County is the only county in the State of Maryland that does not have a tattoo studio within its borders due to outdated regulations,” he said.
“The Town of Berlin has an opportunity to establish its own contemporary tattoo regulations, within the county, that would allow the thriving art of tattooing as a viable business. So we are working to create regulations that would ensure a safe and healthy environment for these establishments to exist.
“Currently, the Health Department of Worcester County does not mandate inspections for tattoo establishments within their (the county’s) regulations. However, within the county’s body piercing regulations, there is an explicit decree giving authority to the health department to inspect those establishments.
“The Tattoo Advisory Committee has determined that to move forward with regulations, we need to approach the county to ask that they amend their current tattoo establishment regulations to include text that would authorize the health department to inspect and monitor these types of businesses.
“If you’re a Berlin resident who supports free expression and you’re tired of driving to another county, or state, to get your artwork, please join us on May 14 in the Town Council chambers to bolster the Mayor and Town Council’s support.”