A federal judge heard arguments Tuesday but made no ruling in a bid by attorneys for tattoo parlors in Torrance and Long Beach to quash Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus-related modified closure order.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court, alleges that the stay-at-home order infringes on the First Amendment rights of tattoo artists and their customers. Plaintiffs also contend that the closure is arbitrary and unfair because tattoo parlors pose less risk than other businesses, and are already subject to strict health oversight by the city and state.

“Tattoo shops pose less risk than other personal service businesses now allowed to operate, such as nail salons, barber shops and beauty salons,” according to the lawsuit. “Because those uses have no First Amendment protection, they should not be favored over a fully protected form of expression.”

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer did not indicate when she would issue a written ruling in the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order, stopping the partial closures.

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

Plaintiffs Tiffany Garcia, owner of Black Crow Tattoo in Torrance, and Tom Moser, who owns Port City Tattoo in Long Beach, allege that their First Amendment rights have been violated by the current closures.

Moser, who also owns shops in Costa Mesa and Santa Ana, contends the health order is causing financial harm to his company and his staff.

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