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Amid crushing shutdown, Speaker Pelosi seen not wearing mask during illegal salon visit

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By Emily DeRuy

The Mercury News

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is under fire after reportedly getting her hair done at a San Francisco salon on Monday, even as the county continued forbidding salons and barbershops to open as part of the coronavirus shutdown.

In security camera footage obtained by Fox News, Pelosi can be seen walking inside a salon with what appears to be a face covering around her neck. The speaker was followed closely by a man in a face mask who appears to be her stylist. Pelosi’s hair is wet in the video and she looks to be wearing a robe.

Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Mercury News, but told Fox News she was following the rules as presented to her.

“The Speaker always wears a mask and complies with local COVID requirements. This business offered for the Speaker to come in on Monday and told her they were allowed by the city to have one customer at a time in the business. The Speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment,” her spokesperson said.

While some San Francisco Bay Area counties have moved to allow salons to restart indoor operations, San Francisco is not one of them. And San Francisco did not permit even outdoor salon services until Tuesday.

According to Fox News, the owner of eSalon on Union Street said a stylist who rents space there contacted her Sunday to say Pelosi would be coming in the following day.

“It was a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work,” salon owner Erica Kious told Fox News.

The salon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Mercury News.

Businesses, including hair salons, have been hit hard by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with many lobbying public health officials and others to move forward faster with reopening.

Pelosi could have visited a different salon at one of several nearby counties that have reopened indoor salon operations, including Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara.

Pelosi herself has been a vocal proponent of mask wearing and has criticized President Donald Trump for failing to follow the science in addressing the pandemic, including rebuking him Monday for allowing more than 1,000 people — many of them without masks and sitting shoulder to shoulder — on the White House lawn recently to officially accept the Republican presidential nomination.

The salon visit immediately sparked outrage among conservative commentators and politicians.

“On the left: Nancy Pelosi today shaming Americans, saying ‘you must wear your mask.’ On the right: Nancy Pelosi yesterday violating covid rules for salons and not wearing a mask,” the Trump War Room tweeted, along with two contrasting videos.

Harmeet Dhillon, a San Francisco-based Republican National Committeewoman, called for the district attorney to investigate.

“If Speaker Pelosi can get her hair done in San Francisco indoors, no mask, while other Californians were forced to get theirs outdoors in 100+ degree heat and dangerous levels of smoke, then everyone should be able to,” Dhillon said. “Others have been cited and sued and prosecuted by the state for similar offenses. We await the San Francisco District Attorney’s charging decision — unless, of course, the speaker is above the very law she loudly proclaims others must follow.”

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©2020 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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