The most powerful elected US Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, who scolds President Donald Trump for not wearing a mask, has been pictured without a face covering in a San Francisco hair salon.
Footage obtained by Fox News showed the House of Representatives speaker inside the premises on Monday, breaking the city’s coronavirus-prevention rules.
San Francisco’s pandemic orders do not allow hair salons to open indoors.
Thousands of California businesses have shut permanently amid virus curbs.
Mrs Pelosi – who always wears masks in public – often admonishes Republicans to “listen to the science” on the pandemic.
But the Fox News footage showed her walking with a face mask around her neck, rather than over her mouth, through eSalon.
A stylist, who was wearing a mask, was shown following her.
The California Democrat’s spokesman said she did not realise she was breaking her home city’s rules on virus prevention.
“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,” spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement.
“The Speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment.”
Mrs Pelosi has herself previously cited US Centers for Disease Control guidelines recommending that Americans wear face masks in public, especially when physical distancing measures are difficult.
After Monday’s appointment, the House speaker appeared on MSNBC with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
The salon owner, Erica Kious, told Fox News she rents chairs to a stylist, who notified her that Mrs Pelosi’s assistant had called, saying her boss wanted to come in for a wash and blow dry.
Ms Kious told the cable network: “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.”
More than 5,000 businesses in the San Francisco Bay area alone have closed since March, over 2,000 of them permanently, during the pandemic, according to a recent study of Yelp data.
Outdoor haircuts were allowed in California from Tuesday, under new rules announced by the mayor, but indoor salons remain shut.
Senate Republicans suggested the House speaker was a hypocrite.
They tweeted: “Speaker Pelosi has pushed policies that would keep our economy closed and our small businesses shut down.
“But for herself? A salon visit whenever she pleases.”
The House speaker has previously said Republicans could help create the conditions to safely reopen if they would only “listen to the scientists”.
Mrs Pelosi has also repeatedly criticised Mr Trump’s decision to largely spurn face coverings, calling him a “coward” and saying: “Real men wear masks.”
The coronavirus outbreak has infected more than six million people in the US, while some 185,000 deaths have been recorded.