California In-N-Out Shut Down for Refusing to Check Customers’ Vaccination Status
An In-N-Out in Contra Costa County, California, has been shut down for refusing to ask patrons for proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within three days of dining in.
After being told to close indefinitely on Tuesday, it was later reopened for drive-through and takeout service only.
“The Pleasant Hill In-N-Out location received four citations in recent weeks and fines totaling $1,750, all for the same health order violation, before today’s action,” Contra Costa Environmental Health (CCEH) said in a statement.
The location was served with a notice of violation on Oct. 5, and subsequently fined $250 on Oct. 14 and $500 on Oct. 19, a spokesperson for Contra Costa County’s health department told SFGate, adding that the In-N-Out faced “repeated complaints from members of the public.”
Arnie Wensinger, chief legal & business officer for the In-N-Out chain, said that the store “properly and clearly” posted signs that outlined the vaccination requirements for indoor diners, but said that the store refused to act as “the vaccination police for any government.”
“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,” added Wensinger.
As of Sept. 22, restaurants, gyms, and some indoor businesses operating in Contra Costa County were required to check vaccine records and the photo ID of customers dining indoors.
“This order is necessary now to save lives, protect our overburdened healthcare system, and slow the pandemic enough to keep our schools open,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County Health Officer, in a statement. “Reducing community transmission of the virus now is key to preventing future spikes in cases from overwhelming our county’s hospitals during the winter months.”
The mandate will also require staff in indoor areas of these businesses to show proof of full vaccination or test weekly for COVID-19 starting Nov. 1.
A San Francisco branch of In-N-Out faced temporary closure on Oct. 14 also for refusing to ask customers to show proof of vaccination.
The branch has since reopened but for takeout only.
The Epoch Times has reached out to Contra Costa County’s health department for additional comment.
Correction: The Pleasant Hill location has since been reopened for drive-through and takeout service.