By CBSLA Staff

TORRANCE (CBSLA) — Tattoo parlors in Torrance and Long Beach will remain closed during regional stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, denying a bid by attorneys to reopen them.

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles federal court and alleges the stay-at-home order infringes on the First Amendment free speech rights of tattoo artists and their clients.

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Plaintiffs said the closure is arbitrary and unfair because tattoo parlors pose less risk than other businesses, while already being subject to stricter health oversight than other industries by the city and state.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer wrote in the ruling that the stay-at-home order “does not single out those engaged in expressive activity. Singling out by definition would require tattoo parlors to be treated uniquely from all other types of businesses or to bear disproportionately the burden of the restriction.”

Fischer said the order treats all personal care services – along with hair salons, bars, and amusement parks – the same way.

“None of these other types of businesses are engaged in protected expressive activity,” the judge wrote.

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The suit, filed in September, names Newsom, Health Secretary Mark Ghaly, and acting state Public Health Officer Erica Pan as defendants.

Plaintiffs include Tiffany Garcia, owner of Black Crow Tattoo in Torrance, and Tom Moser, who owns Port City Tattoo in Long Beach, along with shops in Costa Mesa and Santa Ana.

In her order, Fischer included comments from Dr. James Watt, chief of the division of communicable disease control with the California Department of Public Health, who described the risks associated with tattoo parlors.

“Tattoo services, and other personal care services, in comparison to retail businesses, present a greater risk of COVID-19 transmission due to the activities involving close physical proximity of longer duration in smaller airspace,” Watt said.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)