California restaurant closed for customers’ refusal to wear masks, harassment of employees

A taco restaurant in Los Angeles temporarily closed both locations on Sunday, raising concerns for the safety of its employees, as some customers refused to wear masks and reportedly harassed staff for asking them to.

“Our taco stands are exhausted from constant conflict,” said a statement from Hugo’s Tacos, which has restaurants in Atwater Village and Studio City. “The staff has been harassed, called names, and objects and liquids have been thrown at them. A mask symbolizes nothing more than our desire to keep our staff healthy. “

The message was shared on social media and recorded on various windows outside both restaurants. Executive chef Nabor Díaz told KTLA5 that the closure was necessary because he did not have enough employees who felt safe enough to go to work as they were.

“At this point, we believe that it is really important for us to put the safety of our crew first,” he said.

In San Francisco, a restaurant that closed due to concerns about guests not wearing masks recently reopened for delivery and take-out food again on June 5. The cassava had been closed since April 15. At the time, owner Yuka Ioroi said the move was made in part to urge city officials to order facial coverage. Such an order was later enforced in San Francisco on April 22.

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It is unclear when Hugo’s Tacos will reopen. The restaurant asked its clientele to check for updates on its website and social media accounts, thanking the “majority” of its guests, “who are always respectful and friendly.”

A GoFundMe campaign was also launched on Sunday for staff, which raised almost half of their $ 10,000 fundraising goal at 3:15 pm Later that night, the fundraising goal was exceeded and raised. at $ 50,000. The funds will be distributed evenly among employees at both locations to compensate for lost wages.

“By staying on the job, Hugo’s Tacos employees not only provided essential service in the early days of Covid-19, but also attempted to feed their own families,” the campaign description said.

Amanda Bartlett is a digital reporter for SFGATE. Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @byabartlett