Layla McArthur didn’t flinch as the needle went through her right ear. She wasn’t nervous.
It was the most normal thing the 12-year-old Clayton Middle School student has done in months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve wanted to do this forever,” said Layla.
No school. No sleepovers with friends. No five times a week dance classes.
But on Friday, she was one of the first to get her ears pierced in Nevada under the state’s second phase of reopening.
Washoe County and the state have officially entered Phase 2 of the reopening plan with bars, gyms, theaters, spas, churches, tattoo shops and Black Hole Body Piercing opening for the first time in 72 days.
Some are waiting to open until next week. Movie theaters and City of Reno pools likely won’t open until June. St. Mary’s Fitness Center and Sports West Athletic Club open on Monday.
Manager DeeDee Desiderio Schula said Sports West was open for membership sales on Friday, and it was busy.
“We have had about 10 people sign up today, which is busy for a summer day,” she said.
Chapel Tavern in Midtown was ready for a 3 p.m. Friday opening.
“It’s a mixture of emotions,” said Sean Stitt of Chapel. “We are thrilled to see all the familiar faces. There is something therapeutic about going to a bar.”
It’s been a long 72 days for tattoo artist Jared Isenberg, who works at Absolute Tattoo on Wells Avenue.
“I’ve been doing this 23 years,” Isenberg said. “This just isn’t my job, this is my favorite thing to do.”
He and Absolute Tattoo owner Joe Zeigler said they have a backlog of customers from the shutdown. They also are adhering to strict social distancing guidelines and are limiting the number of artist working at one time.
But business is good.
“I’m booked until August,” Zeigler said.
At Black Hole Body Piercing there was a steady line of customers and the phone didn’t stop ringing on Friday.
“We are booked today,” said Black Hole Body Piercing owner Angela Watson. Watson has been in the tattoo business for 25 years. She survived the Great Recession, a fire but this is very different.
“We are going back to business but it’s like starting all over again,” she said. “Things are forever changed.”
Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.
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