San Francisco's In-N-Out restaurant was temporarily shut down by the Health Department for not complying with the city's vaccination mandate. The burger chain responded that they would not become the vaccine police.
KRON-TV reported Tuesday that the In-N-Out Burger San Franciscos Fishermans Wharf, the only chain location in the area, was closed on Oct. 14. The restaurant has been reopened but it is not open for indoor dining. San Francisco has one the most stringent vaccine requirements in the country. It requires proof of vaccination to allow indoor dining. This mandate went into effect on Aug. 20.
In-N-Out claimed that it placed signs at the restaurant informing customers about the requirement for vaccinations, but its employees weren't following through.
In-N-Outs chief business and legal officer Arnie Wensinger attacked the city's vaccination mandate in a statement Tuesday.
In-N-Out Burger believes that customer service is the best form of business. That means making customers feel comfortable and serving them well. He said this in a statement sent to MarketWatch. We are not going to be the vaccine police for any government. It is unsafe, unreasonable, and invasive to make restaurant employees segregate customers based on their documentation or other reasons.
This is clear evidence of government overreach. It is inappropriate, intrusive and offensive.
After receiving a public complaint, the San Francisco Department of Public Health stated to Eater and San Francisco Chronicle that it had repeatedly asked In-N Out to prove its vaccination. The temporary shutdown was triggered by its refusal.
In-N-Out seems to be the main opponent to the city's vaccination mandate. The ordinance otherwise has been implemented quite smoothly. Despite some complaints about COVID restrictions affecting businesses, California's COVID-19 positive rate has fallen to 1.9%. This is the lowest level since July 3. San Francisco's test-positivity ratio is 1.64%. This led to the city removing some of its mask requirements.
San Francisco, New York City and other cities have not yet required proof of vaccination to eat indoors. The city of Los Angeles will soon have a similar mandate for vaccines, so In-N-Out's position could cause a larger controversy. In-N-Out currently has five locations in Los Angeles, as well as many others in the surrounding areas that are considering similar mandates.
In-N-Out operates more than 350 locations in California and the Southwest.