'No Malice Intended' Says Texas Mayor Who Broke Quarantine for a Manicure

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."

Nail salon
A nail salon sits closed during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 20, 2020 in New York City. Victor J. Blue/Getty Images

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. The office has been contacted for comment.

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation told Newsweek that it is investigating the salon over the incident.

"The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is investigating several complaints that a nail salon in Beaumont provided services to the Mayor despite the Governor's Executive Order closing hair and nail salons," the spokesperson said.

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.

Almost 10,000 people have recovered in the state.

This article has been updated with a comment from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.