Proof of vaccine mandates for indoor dining are being enforced in several cities across the country, but one popular fast-food chain has refused to cooperate.
The only San Francisco location of In-N-Out Burger refused to check the vaccination status of customers dining indoors and was temporarily shut down as a result by The San Francisco Department of Public Health. The restaurant, located in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood, has since been reopened, but indoor dining is still unavailable at the location, according to The Washington Post.
A spokesperson for the city's Department of Health said the restaurant was warned of noncompliance with the Safer Return Together Health Order several times before the notice of closure was issued on October 14. Employees were reminded multiple times to check the vaccination cards at the door for customers looking to dine inside the location. It is the city's only forcible closure due to a vaccine-card violation, according to The Post.
The company's Chief Legal and Business Officer Arnie Wensinger told several news outlets that In-N-Out refuses to "become the vaccination police for any government," citing the company's belief in customer service which does not discriminate against customers based on their vaccination status.
"Our store properly and clearly posted signage to communicate local vaccination requirements," Wensinger said. "After closing our restaurant, local regulators informed us that our restaurant Associates must actively intervene by demanding proof of vaccination and photo identification from every Customer, then act as enforcement personnel by barring entry for any Customers without the proper documentation."
"We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business," the statement said. "This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper and offensive."
In-N-Out went on to characterize the mandate as forcing restaurants to "segregate" customers.
It remains unclear how the chain plans on handling the situation in the future should more of its locations become affected. The company has declined to provide any further comment on the matter.
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