Three hour wait for Amapola customers buying masa

Tamales season is in full swing! The vice president of Amapola Deli & Market said the long wait time is due to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
DOWNEY, Calif. (KABC) -- On the day before Christmas Eve, many people waited in line up to three hours to buy a holiday favorite, masa (tamale dough), at Amapola Deli and Market.

"Usually we would come like at five in the morning. But we decided to sleep in. It was worst this year because of the pandemic," said Cristina Salinas, an Amapola customer.

Even through a pandemic, there have been long lines of customers at two of Amapola's locations like this one in Downey. At their Florence-Firestone site, the line wrapped around the entire block.

"We've been here since 9 o'clock, 8 o'clock maybe," said Isabela Hernandez, a customer who was halfway through the line. "The best masa for the good tamales."

The Vice President of Amapola, Juan Galvan, said it takes them about two weeks to prepare for tamale season. And this year, they also prepared to keep everyone safe.

"[We're] keeping the social distancing. We limit the people in our stores per the state mandate. And the customers have been great, they've social distanced," said Galvan.

Salinas, who bought about 150 pounds of masa, said she felt safe waiting in line.

"My parents have been coming here since I was young," said Salinas.

Galvan said they expect the line to be this long for a couple of days. If customers don't want to wait in line, they can order online and do curbside pickup.
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