After violating her own stay-at-home order by visiting a nail salon Tuesday, a photo of a southern Texas mayor went viral on social media. Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames apologized after an image of her was shared across Twitter, in which she is seen dipping her nails in a bowl at a salon. Widespread criticism towards the mayor for disobeying her own order prompted her to issue an apology Thursday.
"I promise there was no malice intended," she wrote in a statement shared on Facebook. "I should never have entered the salon last Tuesday. I did not intend to take personal privilege while asking others to sacrifice and for that I am truly remorseful.” The photo taken at The Nail Bar follows protests across the nation on ending stay-at-home orders and safety measures in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation are investigating the incident, NBC News reported. “We are reviewing to determine if there was a violation," District Attorney Bob Wortham said. According to a spokesperson for the state’s licensing and regulation department, if a violation is found, a fine of up to $1,000 could be imposed.
The mayor’s stay-at-home order went into effect on March 27, a week before Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a stay-at-home order and closed all nonessential businesses on April 2. In both orders nail salons were considered nonessential businesses.
Ames told KBMT that while she did visit the nail salon, she was in and out in about 10 minutes and did not have her nails redone. The mayor claims she visited after speaking to the owner on how to remove an old manicure set. According to Ames, the owner said she would leave acetone out for her to remove her manicure, but instead the acetone was left in a bowl inside the salon. The salon, which was also closed under the order, had only the owner present. KBMT spoke to the owner who ensured surveillance footage supported the mayor’s story.
Ames even provided the news outlet with photos to confirm her nails were not redone. Whether or not she had her nails done is not the issue, but the hypocrisy behind seeking such services amid the pandemic while ordering others not too. Having your nails done is not a priority during a crisis and in the case that one must remove their old manicure, they can do so at home— without a visit to the salon. Acetone is a substance that can easily be purchased online if needed, Ames did not have to violate her own stay-at-home order to acquire this solution.
What Ames did was both irresponsible and an act of privilege. While Texas may be reaching recovery milestones, the state still has over 20,000 cases of COVID-19, according to Texas Health and Human Services reports. Slowing the spread of the virus is essential and in order to encourage residents to follow regulations, officials must abide by orders themselves.