The city of San Francisco has shut down its In-N-Out Burger for not checking to see if its customers are vaccinated before serving them.
San Francisco’s Department of Health Safety forced the site to close its doors last week after it was found that employees were not requiring proof of vaccination for patrons. Officials had told In-N-Out to comply several times after receiving a complaint from an unknown source. The restaurant did not comply, and about a week later it was told to “cease all operations on site immediately because of the threat it poses to public health,” according to the department.
San Francisco has become known for its strict COVID mandates. As of Aug. 20, the city required full proof of COVID vaccinations for employees and patrons, allowing two additional months for proof of employee vaccination confirmations to filter in. Masks are still required for everyone indoors in most public places. Mayor London Breed made the announcement Aug. 9.
“[T]his Order includes proof of vaccination requirements for patrons to use certain indoor facilities, such as restaurants, bars, clubs, and gyms, as well as for people attending large and mega indoor events,” the Department of Health wrote. “Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.”
80% of San Franciscans have received a least 1 dose of a COVID vaccine, according to the city. Those who haven’t, though, must either hope their exceptions are accepted or be unable to freely traverse the city.
Some businesses in the city had already required proof of vaccination for its customers, but San Francisco took it upon itself to force the remainder of private businesses to do the same by threat of repercussion, as the order states.
In-N-Out has now found that the punishment includes closure as well, although the Order states that its goal is to “keep San Francisco businesses open.”
In their official statement, San Francisco’s In-N-Out pushed back, stating that they are nondiscriminatory and do not agree with the city’s overstep of authority.
“We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business,” In-N-Out wrote. “This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive.
“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” it continued. “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.”
The restaurant has since reopened for outdoor dining and takeout only. With incidents like this one and no clear end of the mandates and enforcement in the future, only time will tell what will come of all of it.