Hugo's Tacos announced Sunday that both of its locations, Studio City and Atwater Village, are closing due to constant conflicts over guests refusing to wear masks.
In a note posted on the website and on Twitter, the restaurant said that staff had been "harassed, called names, and had objects and liquids thrown at them" by customers refusing to wear masks.
Nabor Prado, who has been with Hugo's Tacos for more than 30 years, says one customer particularly acted childish when told to put on a mask.
"That particular customer got upset because one of my staff members told him to wear a mask," Prado said. "He got a cup of water and throw the water at my employee, which is unsafe and rude...It’s really sad to see grown up people doing childish things like that."
In their notice to customers, Hugo's Tacos says, "Our taco stands are exhausted by the constant customer conflicts over guests refusing to wear masks."
The notice added, "A mask isn't a symbol of anything other than our desire to keep our staff healthy."
Drew Pennington and his dad, Brian, stopped by for lunch on Sunday, only to find the notice posted and the taco stand closed. The son saw it as a sign of the times and didn't buy the argument that masks violate people's rights.
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"It shouldn’t be a rights thing," the younger Pennington said. "It should be we do whatever we have to do. If that’s what it takes to open things up and get back to normal life, we should just do it.
"This is real simple," the elder Pennington said. "Why not take the precaution and make everyone safe?"
There is no set reopening date for Hugo's Tacos, with the restaurant telling customers to stay tuned and check back.
Said Prado, "We’re going to recharge and have our group back together and confident to come to work. And that’s when we’ll be open again."
However, the restaurant made a point of saying, "Thank you to the majority of our guests who are always respectful and kind."