Charlotte tattoo shop owner feels no choice but to reopen despite N.C. ‘Stay At Home’ order

He says it’s less rebellion, more desperation.
Tattoo business owner ponders reality of opening early.
Tattoo business owner ponders reality of opening early.(WBTV)
Updated: Apr. 30, 2020 at 10:51 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Countless businesses are still having to cope with the harsh reality that most must remain closed through the North Carolina’s “Stay at Home” mandate.

And while that order expires on May 8, we found one business owner who says the money is running out – and he has to open his store Friday just to feed his employees.

The owner of Marc Wade tattoo shop in east Charlotte says he’s a law-abiding citizen and always follows the rules under normal circumstances. But the times we live in are anything but normal.

“I can’t sit around and starve. I can’t let my people starve,” Wade said as he was busy putting his latest creation on a customer.

Wade is a talented tattoo artist. He’s been perfecting his craft for over two decades and built a successful business putting ink to skin. But because of the mandated shutdown, his doors have been closed for weeks.

“I still get calls from bill collectors, they want their money,” the business owner stressed.

Since there’s no cash coming in, Wade is having to make some hard choices – whether to violate the governor’s stay at home order or save his shop.

“I don’t know how the people in charge view the situation or how they think this works. This is real life," Wade said.

Wade tells WBTV it’s less of a case of rebellion and one more of desperation. With the livelihood of his employees on the line, he’s decided to have a limited reopening of his business starting Friday.

“This shop feeds seven families," said Wade. "It feeds seven families.”

The businessman says he knows there are people out there asking why he couldn’t wait just a few more days until the order expires.

“That could crush you. Small businesses don’t survive with some big pot of money somewhere. We survive day to day,” Wade said.

And while Wade says the thought of police showing up at his door is all together too real, he says it’s all about surviving. Not just himself, but his employees and in a bigger picture his community as well.

“I want to be a law-abiding citizen in every shape, form and fashion. I don’t understand what they expect us to do. Do you expect us to sit home and wait for our lives to fall apart?” Wade said.

Wade made sure to stress when they do open shop, they’ll be taking all the precautions. From social distancing to protective gear.

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