The mayor of a Texas city has apologized for violating her own stay-at-home order after she was caught visiting a closed nail salon.
Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames is being investigated by the district attorney after a photo circulated on social media showing her wearing a face mask and with her hands in a bowl of water, KBMT reported.
Ames told the station that she had visited The Nail Bar on Tuesday after speaking with the owner about removing an old manicure set, adding that she had only been at the salon for around 10 minutes to soak her nails in acetone.
The image sparked backlash as multiple people complained about the mayor violating measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to KBMT.
In a statement on Thursday, Ames, who has been the city’s mayor since 2007, apologized for the “lapse in judgement.”
She said: “My heartfelt apology to all of the citizens of Beaumont for my lapse in judgement on Tuesday, April 21st. I promise there was no malice intended.
“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.”
She added: “As an elected official I am held to a higher standard, I regret my action that day. I am honestly sorry and I pray that you will forgive me.”
On Friday, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office confirmed to KBMT that it is investigating Ames’ trip to the salon. A spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation told Fox4 that it is investigating the salon over the incident. Both have both been contacted for additional comment.
Ames told Fox4 that she visited the closed salon to pick up acetone solution that she thought would be left outside the door.
She said the salon owner had her come inside to show her how to use the solution and that they were alone inside the salon during her visit. Ames added that both wore masks and stayed at least six feet apart.
Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a stay-at-home order for the state and closed all nonessential businesses, including nail salons, until April 30. Ames issued a similar order for Beaumont in March.
Abbott last week said he had put together a team of experts and business leaders to advise him on how to safely start the process of reopening Texas.
The city has 207 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 14 deaths, as of Saturday, the mayor’s office said.
Texas, meanwhile, has more than 23,000 confirmed cases and 623 deaths, according to figures from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.