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Texas mayor apologizes after violating stay-at-home order to go to nail salon

Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and the state's licensing and regulation department are investigating after Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames was seen at the salon.

The mayor of a southern Texas city apologized for violating her own stay-at-home order after a photo surfaced on social media of her at a nail salon.

The trip Tuesday by Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames to the closed salon has sparked an investigation by the district attorney.

In the image, the mayor is seen wearing a face mask as she's seated at a table with her hands in a bowl of water. According to NBC affiliate KBMT in Beaumont, the photo was taken at The Nail Bar.

Multiple calls by NBC News to the salon on Saturday were not immediately returned.

Image: Mayor Becky Ames
Beaumont Mayor Becky

The photo sparked backlash from people who criticized the mayor for disobeying her order in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, Ames issued an apology saying she had a "lapse in judgment."

"I promise there was no malice intended," she wrote in a statement. "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."

Ames concluded by asking for forgiveness. "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," she said.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a stay-at-home order and closed all nonessential businesses, including nail salons, on April 2. Mayor Ames had issued a similar order for her city a week earlier, on March 27.

The mayor told KBMT that she went to the salon after talking with the owner about how to remove an old manicure set. Ames said she needed acetone and the owner said she would leave some for the mayor.

Instead, the owner left the solution in a bowl inside the salon. Ames said she was only there for about 10 minutes and did not get her nails re-done. The owner told the outlet that surveillance video backs up the mayor's story.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the incident, according to KBMT.

“We are reviewing to determine if there was a violation," District Attorney Bob Wortham said.

Tela Mange, a spokesperson for the state's licensing and regulation department, said that if it is determined that a violation occurred their findings will be turned over to the agency's prosecutor. If the prosecutor agrees, a fine of up to $1,000 could be imposed.