STUDIO CITY, Calif. - A popular taco stand has fallen victim to the coronavirus, but in an unusual way.
Hugo’s Tacos has been a Southland favorite for 15 years, but amidst increasing conflicts over guests wearing masks, the owners have decided to temporarily close both of their locations.
"Our Taco Stands are exhausted by the constant conflicts over guests refusing to wear masks. Staff have been harassed, called names, and had objects and liquids thrown at them. A mask isn’t symbolic of anything other than our desire to keep our staff healthy.
Both of our locations are going to take a break and recharge. We’ve loved serving you for the last 15 years and hope the LA community comes together on this issue so we can feel safe and reopen soon. Please stay tuned to our website www.hugostacos.com and @hugostacos on social media for reopening updates.
Thank you to the majority of our guests who are always respectful and kind."
“It seems that people’s reaction to the request is getting more visceral as time goes on,” said Hugo’s Tacos CEO Bill Kohne.
Hugo’s Tacos has a notice posted on its windows saying that 'masks are required.'
But, the company says many customers have refused to wear them.
To the point where some of them have verbally abused and also tossed objects and drinks at the employees at both of their Studio City and Atwater Village locations.
“It’s just gotten more difficult to open every day in an environment where you’re treated with hostility and venom. A mask is not a symbol of anything, and public health is not political. We’re asked to wash our kitchens when we’re preparing raw chicken - it’s a health rule - it’s a rule that all kitchens are asked to follow. It’s black and white,” Khone said.
“We didn’t anticipate inserting ourselves into a debate, but we felt very strongly that when we’re asking guests in our home to just behave, and that it’s this difficult - we all just need to take a breather, take stock.”
A Gofundme account has been set up to help employees at both locations.
All of the money raised will be evenly distributed among the workers to make up for lost wages during the closure.
The company says it hopes to reopen both restaurants in the very near future.