Oct 20, 2021 - Health

In-N-Out refuses to follow San Francisco's vaccine mandate

Picture of an In-N-Out sign

Photo: James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images

The California burger chain In-N-Out is refusing to follow San Francisco's vaccination mandate, which requires restaurants to check for customers' proof of vaccination to dine indoors, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: The San Francisco Public Health Department has had to remind employees multiple times to check for proof of vaccination since September, ultimately resulting in the city's only In-N-Out location getting shut down on Oct. 14. It is the only time the agency has ordered a restaurant's closure over a mandate violation, officials told the Post.

  • The restaurant has since reopened but without the option to dine indoors.

What they're saying: "We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out’s chief legal and business officer, said in a statement shared with the Post.

  • "It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant Associates to segregate Customers into those who may be served and those who may not, whether based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason."
  • "We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business," Wensinger said. "This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive."

Reality check: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it is less safe to dine in restaurants with indoor settings, particularly in areas with substantial or high coronavirus transmission rates, such as San Francisco.

"Vaccines remain our best tool to fight this disease and come out of the pandemic," a San Francisco health department spokesperson said.

  • "Vaccination is particularly important in a public indoor setting where groups of people are gathering and removing their masks, factors that make it easier for the virus to spread."
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