ST. LOUIS — When the City of St. Louis' stay-at-home order goes into effect 6 PM Monday, leaders have instructed residents to close non-essential businesses and stay home to stop community spread of the coronavirus.
Tower Classic Tattooing owner Sean Baltzell said he chose to close early to protect staff and customers.
"We are in such close proximity with people, there is blood involved, and tattooing is technically a procedure," Baltzell explained. "So, we just felt to secure our artists' health and to make sure we were safe, it was best for us to go ahead and shut down."
Baltzell is sensitive to coronavirus health concerns. He has asthma and has holed up at home to avoid unnecessary exposure.
At the store, there's a sign in the window to would-be customers:
"Tower Classic will be appointment only until further notice."
Already, that message is obsolete.
"We were going to try and do appointment-only when we weren't sure how bad this thing is," he said. "But, yeah, we are completely shut down. There is no tattooing happening, and we are just riding this out like everybody else in any service-based industry."
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Next door, Beast Block and Butcher — a recent addition to The Grove — has another sign for barbeque fans: "Closed until further notice."
"Definitely a weird vibe down here in The Grove," owner and pitmaster David Sandusky said. "It is a little different. There's not a lot of cars driving by. Nobody is really out. Businesses are typically very exciting down here and thriving, and we were just happy to get into the post office."
Bars and restaurants are able to stay open for to-go and delivery orders, but Sandusky said it wasn't a viable option for their location.
St. Louis County's stay-at-home order started 12:01 a.m. Monday. The orders are in effect until April 22.
St. Charles County and Jefferson County each issued a stay-at-home restrictions that begin at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 24.