Chicago’s mayor Lori Lightfoot is on the defensive Tuesday after a Chicago hair stylist revealed on social media that she’d given the mayor a haircut in violation of Lightfoot’s own stay-at-home orders.
Illinois was one of the first states to institute a full shelter-in-place program to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and has been warning its residents to stay home at all costs unless they need necessary items like food or prescrition medication. The state had some of the first cases of coronavirus in the nation and, so far, around 11,000 Illinois residents are infected with the disease and 275 have died.
Lightfoot is, herself, the face of the Chicago stay-at-home order, appearing regularly on television to remind Chicagoans of the need to remain self-quarantined and her frequent lectures have earned her space on memes, where she stares down would-be fun-havers with her steely glare.
It has mostly been a positive time for Lightfoot — until Monday, that is, when her hair stylist posted a post-haircut photo with the mayor on social media. The stylist apparently visited Lightfoot at home and wore a mask and gloves to give Lightfoot a trim — something ordinary Chicagoans can’t get, given that barber shops and salons are shuttered until further notice.
Lightfoot was forced to defend her actions, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Asked about photos on social media showing her with a stylist, Lightfoot acknowledged getting a haircut, then said the public cares more about other issues,” the Trib reported.
“I think what really people want to talk about is, we’re talking about people dying here. We’re talking about significant health disparities. I think that’s what people care most about,” she added.
Lightfoot contended that she was abiding by her own rules because the stylist came prepared: “The woman who cut my hair had a mask and gloves on so we are, I am practicing what I’m preaching,” she said during a press conference.
Asked what separated her from average Chicagoans who are forgoing beauty treatments in order to abide by regulations they’ve been told are saving lives, Lightfoot claimed that her status affords her some special privileges.
“I am the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye,” she said. “I take my personal hygiene very seriously. As I said, I felt like I needed to have a haircut. I’m not able to do that myself, so I got a haircut. You want to talk more about that?”
That last part didn’t sit well with some Chicagoans, who accused the mayor of abiding by one set of rules while mandating a second set of rules for less important residents. Indeed, just weeks ago, Lightfoot called the stay-at-home order a matter of life and death.
“Congregating on our lakefront, to be blunt, is going to create a risk that is unacceptable and could lead to death,” she said in a speech announcing that Chicago’s recreational areas, parks, and public beaches would be closed to traffic. “That is why we are taking these actions and going back and saying again: dear god, stay home, save lives.”