LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The historic Los Angeles landmark, Pink’s Hot Dog Stand, will be closing for at least two months as a surge of COVID-19 cases continues in the county, making fans flock to the stand for one last bite to eat.
“We zoomed down here,” said April Abeyta, who drove down from Victorville with her husband after they received news of the closure. “It took us an hour and a half.”READ MORE: Raymon Morris, LASD's First Black Assistant Sheriff, Remembered As An 'Inspirational Leader'
Richard Pink, co-owner of the iconic eatery, said Pink’s would be closed for at least two months starting at 7 p.m. Sunday. The temporary closure is aimed at protecting his customers and staff from coronavirus.
“Hearing about how the hospitals are overflowing and there are no ICUs, and that the staff is short-handed, I’ve got to do something,” said Pink.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Friday reported 20,414 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 207 deaths, bringing countywide totals to 790,582 cases and 10,552 deaths.
The stand tweeted the news on New Year’s Day, asking customers to come back in March.
Pink’s is open through the New Year’s weekend until Sunday at 7 p.m. We will be closing for two months as of Monday morning, the 4th in order to keep our patrons and staff safe from the current Covid surge. See you in March. Please stay safe and Happy New Year! pic.twitter.com/U109byB3yS
— Pink's Hot Dogs (@pinkshotdogs) January 1, 2021READ MORE: Pasadena To Reopen 4 Libraries For In-Person Service
Hot dog lovers have been lining up at the stand for 81 years. It started with Pink’s parents and a pushcart. Then, it became the little stand with a big reputation.
“My parents were here for World War II,” said Pink. “They’re here for the Korean War. They’re here for the Vietnam War. All these crises that hit our country. Pink’s survived. But this year we’ve shut down twice.”
Pink has already closed the doors for five months during the start of the pandemic and said he will take care of his workers financially until their unemployment benefits kick in.
“I finished my hot dog before my husband did,” laughed Abeyta on Friday, filming the fun on an iPhone.MORE NEWS: Dozens Of Migrant Children Housed At Long Beach, Pomona Intake Centers Being Treated For COVID-19
Fans like the Abeytas are a reminder to Pink that he wants to open back up as soon as possible, but if case counts and hospitalizations do not go down significantly by March, he plans to extend the closure to protect the community.