San Francisco In-N-Out that refused to comply with COVID-19 mandates is still serving indoor diners [Updated]

The burger chain doesn't want to be the “vaccination police.”

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Image for article titled San Francisco In-N-Out that refused to comply with COVID-19 mandates is still serving indoor diners [Updated]
Photo: George Rose (Getty Images)

Updated Post, October 28, 2021: These folks just can’t quit.
Eater reports that San Francisco’s sole In-N-Out is under investigation for continuing indoor dining against the directive of the San Francisco Health Department earlier this month. While there is clear signage at the location stating that it’s only open for take-out and outdoor dining, the SFDH received complaints about indoor diners and a member of the Eater SF team reportedly spotted at least one person eating inside the restaurant.

The doubling down of defying health mandates and refusing to check vaccination status is turning the burger joint into a beacon for conservatives; former Vice President Mike Pence tweeted a photo of himself outside one location with an American flag emoji. Meanwhile, AP reports that elsewhere in the state, more In-N-Out locations were shut down for refusing to enforce COVID-19 rules. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Updated Post, October 21, 2021: Major fast food brands aren’t the only ones trolling on Twitter. Apparently municipal public health departments are getting in on the fun. SFist reports that after shutting down the city’s only In-N-Out for not checking the vaccination status of customers for indoor dining, the San Francisco Department of Public Health tweeted:

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That’s some shade thrown, Animal-style.

Original Post, October 20, 2021: San Francisco’s only In-N-Out Burger is now more the latter (out) after the chain was caught failing to enforce the city’s dining mandates, Eater reports. The San Francisco Department of Public Health had been in touch with the location for weeks, encouraging workers to check for proof of vaccination before allowing diners to enter. After multiple failed attempts, the restaurant was officially shut down on October 14.

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While other locations of the infamous chain remain open outside of San Francisco (for now), this incident shed some light on how the company’s higher ups really feel about vaccine mandates. In-N-Out Chief Legal & Business Officer Arnie Wensinger said in a statement to Eater: “We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business . . . This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive.”

The statement went on to say that In-N-Out refuses to become the “vaccination police” and that their refusal to check customer’s “documentation” is their way of being a more inclusive place.

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This isn’t the first time the fast food chain has gotten into hot water during the pandemic. Earlier this year, a former In-N-Out butcher sued the company claiming that higher ups were retaliating against workers who complained about inadequate COVID-19 protections. And last December the Denver Gazette reported at least 80 staffers at two newly opened locations in Colorado were infected with coronavirus.

It’s also not the first time some hate has been sent the notoriously beloved chain’s way. Back in 2018 there were calls for a boycott when it was discovered that the restaurant donated a chunk of change to the California GOP. Only time will tell if the company’s stance on vaccinations will elicit a similar call to action, but would you really be missing out on much? Forget In-N-Out, just grab your vax card and head to Culver’s instead.