Many businesses have been reopening their doors in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns, but with more strict sanitization and social distancing guidelines. On May 23, Missi Wimberly of Birmingham, Alabama, posted a tweet about the nail salon staff wearing face shields while she received a pedicure.
The tweet has been circulating on social media and Wimberly received some backlash on Twitter for her comments. Wimberly later apologized for the tweet and responded to the criticism she received. Her tweet has been deleted, but a screengrab is available below:
The caption reads: “I am SO thankful businesses are opening back up. But this is what I had to look at while I got a pedicure today. Apparently my feet are contagious? It’s almost more depressing to be in an environment where people act afraid to be touched than to stay home. #stopsocialdistancing.”
Many people took to Twitter to voice their reactions to the tweet. Actor Misha Collins posted:
He wrote: “I’m so sorry you had to look at a face shield while getting your nails done today. I only hope the families of the 100,000 Americans who have already died from this virus can show you adequate sympathy for your terrible frustrations.”
Yashar Ali posted:
His tweet reads: “How are these people real????? You got your pedicure @missiwimberly, the nail tech got to make some money. What more do you want?”
Another tweet reads: “Missi, I feel nothing but pity for you. She was wearing the PPE as much for your protection as for her own. Talk about ungrateful! 100,000 people dead, many more sick & you’re complaining about your pedicurist protecting herself & you?!?! Smh. #KeepSocialDistancing.”
Wimberly Responded to the Criticism in a Series of Tweets
Wimberly acknowledged the backlash that she received and posted a series of tweets responding to the criticism. She started by saying that she received hateful comments on her Twitter and Facebook accounts and she wanted to clarify her remarks. She continued, “If you are scared of this virus, STAY HOME. Don’t shame the rest of us who aren’t scared. #Karen.”
She then spoke about the nail salon in question, saying that she loves it, has been going for years and the staff knows her and her daughters well. She added, “It’s not their fault they work for a company forcing them to comply with ridiculous rules to avoid liability.”
She explained that her husband is a doctor but he hasn’t seen any coronavirus patients in the area:
My husband is a doctor and owns a large, very successful practice. He is also the medical director of lots of large nursing homes here in the area. He has taken care of ZERO Covid patients. Hear me: ZERO. If any of you are worried about this virus, stay home. Don’t shame the rest of us who aren’t scared and who live like we have a working immune system. Wash your hands. Be thoughtful. But- my goodness – LIVE. I will never cower to fear pandering. It’s sad so many do.
Update May 26: Wimberly posted another series of tweets on May 26 addressing the situation and apologizing for her message. She wrote:
I hope you all know that I would never shame any salon worker or mask-wearer. The only point I was trying to make was that it was depressing to me how now our lives are all about avoiding others. It genuinely makes me sad. I am a big hugger and love people and I hate that I can’t do that anymore. I know some people are really worried about getting sick and I sympathize with them. Some are only pretending to be worried. We all have opinions on social distancing-I sometimes share mine on Twitter like lots of others do.
She then said that some of the messages she received were extremely hateful simply because of a difference of opinion. She stated that the fear and hate that people are advocating online are “from the devil” and the world “needs Jesus” in this time and she does as well. She finished her thread by saying: “I’m sorry if I’ve upset any of you with my opinions. This is new territory for all of us… I hope to extend more grace.”
Wimberly Is a Birmingham, Alabama, Mother of 5 & the Wife of Doctor Lee Wimberly
Wimberly is married to Lee Wimberly, a Birmingham-area doctor, and the two have five children together, including one who just graduated from high school, according to Facebook posts. Wimberly’s LinkedIn page states that she’s a health, wellness and fitness professional, while her Twitter profile adds that she’s a “wife, mom of 5, Christ follower, volunteer, Samford alum and UGA football fanatic.”
She’s married to Lee Wimberly, an internal medicine specialist based in Birmingham. He has a blog where he writes about his practice and his faith and general reflections.