Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said that the governor had a conversation with the president of In-N-Out Burger after the fast-food chain was forced to shutter several of its locations in California over local COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
“As you may have heard, In-N-Out has closed a couple of locations in California due to vaccine passport requirements. This is what prompted the discussion about opening locations in Florida,” DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw told local media on Monday, adding that DeSantis had a “productive conversation” with In-N-Out head Lynsi Snyder-Ellington.
Pushaw said that In-N-Out would have some difficulty in moving to Florida, as the company’s suppliers are all located on the West Coast.
“Of course, Florida also has some of the highest quality farms and cattle ranches in the country, and the governor discussed this with the president of In-N-Out. If they can identify suppliers for all their ingredients here, which we believe is possible, In-n-out (sic) could expand to Florida,” Pushaw continued to say.
In-N-Out hasn’t immediately responded to a request for comment on Pushaw’s remarks.
Health officials in San Francisco and nearby Contra Costa County, California, shuttered several In-N-Out locations after the company refused to enforce local COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
“Our store properly and clearly posted signage to communicate local vaccination requirements,” In-N-Out Burger’s Chief Legal and Business Officer, Arnie Wensinger, said in a statement last month.
The California-based firm will not “become the vaccination police for any government,” Wensinger said before criticizing the San Francisco Department of Health’s vaccine passport mandate as “unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe.”
Before DeSantis’ conversation with Snyder-Ellington, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis sent a letter in a bid to entice the restaurant chain to move to Florida.
“In Florida, we love our business owners, entrepreneurs, and employees,” Patronis wrote in the letter, which he shared on Facebook. “We’re constantly looking for opportunities to bring businesses to our state, to create jobs, and improve our communities. The business climate here is perfect, with no personal income tax, low corporate taxes, an educated workforce, and a fantastic quality of life.”
Vaccine passports and mandates are against the law in Florida after DeSantis signed legislation and executive orders barring them.
Outside California, In-N-Out mainly has locations in the western United States, including in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. The chain also operates in Texas.
Pushaw said this week that DeSantis is “willing to help” In-N-Out find the proper suppliers to make the move to Florida.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.