In-N-Out Slams 'Invasive' Closure of 2nd Bay Area Site

Health officials shutter Pleasant Hill eatery, alleging workers didn't check customers' vax status
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2021 1:54 AM CDT
Updated Oct 27, 2021 10:00 AM CDT
In-N-Out Burger Slams San Francisco Over Vaccine Mandate
The San Francisco In-N-Out is shown.   (In-N-Out)

Update: A second In-N-Out Burger location in the Bay Area has been temporarily closed after workers allegedly didn't follow local COVID protocols by checking customers' vaccination status. Contra Costa County officials say this particular In-N-Out, located in Pleasant Hill, has already been hit with four citations and fines totaling $1,750 for noncompliance, per the Los Angeles Times. The eatery, shut down about a week after the Fisherman's Wharf location closed, will stay that way until "the hazard is abated," per public health officials. Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out's head business and legal officer, says making workers confront people on their vaccine status is "unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe," and that the health officials' move is "governmental overreach." What may pose more of a challenge to the fast-food chain is a similar mandate on locations in LA set to take effect Nov. 8. The Times notes there are at least 16 In-N-Out restaurants there. Our original story from Oct. 19 follows:

In-N-Out Burger has a message for San Francisco: "We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government," Arnie Wensinger, the chain's chief legal and business officer, says in a statement. It's a response to the city temporarily shuttering the hamburger chain's Fisherman's Wharf location because it refused to check the vaccination status of customers dining indoors, as required by a city mandate that took effect Aug. 20, the AP reports. The Department of Public Health closed the fast-food restaurant last Thursday after multiple warnings to start enforcing the mandate; the company refused, saying doing so would force it to discriminate against customers.

In-N-Out says it posted vaccine requirements on signs, but would not ask employees to check for proof of vaccination and photo identification, as the mandate requires. As Fox News reports, the owner of the burger company is a devout Christian, and the chain is known for printing Bible verses on the bottom of its beverage cups. The location, the only restaurant in San Francisco to be closed over vaccine mandate violations, reopened after one day, but is now only offering takeout, ABC 7 reports. In the city, 83% of eligible residents aged 12 and up are fully vaccinated, KRON4 reports. A nearby In-N-Out was also cited for violating the indoor dining health order put in place in Contra Costa County. (More In-N-Out stories.)

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