An LA Taco Chain Said It’s Closing Because Employees Were Harassed By Customers Who Refused To Wear Masks – BuzzFeed News


Hugos Tacos said that its mostly Latino employees were called racial slurs and had actually things tossed at them by visitors who declined to use masks throughout the continuous pandemic.

Tanya Chen
BuzzFeed News Reporter

Posted on June 28, 2020, at 6:11 p.m. ET

Hugos Tacos, a beloved LA chain, revealed Sunday that it was momentarily closing both its taco stands after its staff members reported increasing harassment from consumers who declined to use masks throughout the continuous coronavirus pandemic.
The harassment– ranging from racial slurs to food and items being thrown at workers– “has actually taken a toll” on personnel, CEO and part-owner Bill Kohne told BuzzFeed News.
When informed to, he stated that numerous of his employees are Latino and that they have actually heard racial slurs from restaurants who are upset about using a mask.
” One of our staff members wearing a mask was imploring individuals to behave and to follow that a person basic guideline; she was one of the employees who had actually water thrown at her,” Kohne stated.
The owners closed both the Atwater Village and Studio City locations on Sunday, stating, “Our Taco Stands are tired by the continuous disputes over visitors refusing to wear masks.”
” A mask isnt symbolic of anything other than our desire to keep our staff healthy,” Hugos Tacos stated in its declaration.

Both our Hugos Tacos places are now closed temporarily. When its safe, we look forward to reopening again quickly!

03:47 PM – 28 Jun 2020

” The masks have actually somehow ended up being symbolic or a political statement,” Kohne stated, blaming the countrys leaders for turning the mask “into a sign of something that it is not.”
” Im actually trying to avoid politics since were simply a taco stand … however theres no leaving the fact,” he stated. “Masks have actually been politicized at the really leading of the country for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with being accountable for each other. And its emboldened some individuals to turn it into a symbol of something that it is not.”
Kohne said that when his staff members offer a mask to consumers without one, theyre met “all way of responses.”
A typical action from customers who decline to wear a mask is that using one violates their “individual liberties,” he stated.
Hugos Tacos places are small– about 400 square feet, according to Kohne– and the restaurant has actually tried to regulate social distancing and other health codes by marking locations where customers are enabled to hang out, and closing off certain seating locations. Mask-wearing is a must, specifically when making an order or any close contact with employees, according to Kohne.
It is mandatory for Californians to wear face masks in public settings. And on Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom bought an instant re-closing of bars in LA County, as coronavirus cases surged with over 2,100 new cases the day in the past.

Frederic J. Brown/ Getty Images

People wearing face masks walk on Santa Monica Pier which re-opened on June 25.

” Its like all of an unexpected [workers] are having to end up being a schoolyard monitor– and entirely for consumers who refuse to use masks,” Kohne stated, including that they were worn down and less happy to work.
” We need to take a while to provide a break and purposely consider what barriers to deal with,” he said.
One consideration, he stated, is causing a full-time security personnel or “screen” strictly to enforce correct protocol.
The business also began a GoFundMe for its workers “to make up for lost incomes.”
If they were going to someones house, Kohne said he just desires consumers to deal with dining during the pandemic like how they d act.
” When you walk into a dining establishment or organisation, everyone has a set of guidelines,” Kohne said. “Fighting with the host, destroying their home, calling them names … its habits beyond creativity.”

The harassment– varying from racial slurs to food and items being tossed at employees– “has taken a toll” on staff, CEO and part-owner Bill Kohne told BuzzFeed News.” Im actually attempting to prevent politics due to the fact that were just a taco stand … but theres no leaving the truth,” he stated. “Masks have been politicized at the extremely leading of the country for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with being responsible for each other. And its pushed some people to turn it into a sign of something that it is not.”