Top Florida Official Pleads With In-N-Out to Move After Vaccine Mandate Closures

Top Florida Official Pleads With In-N-Out to Move After Vaccine Mandate Closures
An In-N-Out Burger restaurant in Alhambra, Calif., on Aug. 30, 2018. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, suggested that In-N-Out Burger should move to the Sunshine State after several In-N-Out locations were shut down by California officials.

Patronis appealed to In-N-Out CEO Lynsi Snyder to move to the state, arguing that Florida has a superior business climate—noting the state has no personal income tax, low corporate taxes, and no mandates.

“I’m writing you today not only as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, but as a small business owner who grew up in a family-owned restaurant and worked there for more than 30 years,” his letter reads. “I know how hard it is to turn a profit and make payroll on a good day, let alone when your own government is working to crush your business with absurd mandates. Once I heard the news of your shutdown for refusing to act as ‘vaccine police,’ I knew I had to reach out immediately.”
It came as health officials in Contra Costa County, Calfornia, shut down another In-N-Out Burger location for allowing indoor dining without checking customers for proof of vaccination, coming after a location was closed in nearby San Francisco for a similar reason.

Contra Costa County District 1 Supervisor John Gioia claimed that In-N-Out’s staff in Pleasant Hill “have just flouted the law.”

“It was other residents who complained about them,” he told ABC7. “That is why the health department followed up and issued fines.”

The Contra Costa Environmental Health said in a news release the commercial food permit for the Pleasant Hill location was suspended Tuesday “for creating a public health hazard by repeatedly violating a county health order intended to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

“Despite repeated notices of violation and fine, this business continued to permit indoor dining on site without verifying the COVID-19 vaccination status or recent, negative test result of customers,” the press release from Contra Costa health officials also said.

The restaurant chain, which has numerous locations across the West Coast, said its staff will not check the vaccination status of customers.

“The reason for the closure is that In-N-Out Associates were not actively demanding vaccine documentation and photo identification from each dine-in Customer before serving them,” In-N-Out Chief legal officer Arnie Wensinger said in a statement to local media after the Contra Costa location was closed.

“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” he added. “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.”

Wensinger continued to say that the chain doesn’t agree “with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business.”

The move comes about two weeks after another In-N-Out Burger in San Francisco’s Fisherman Warf was closed down for allowing indoor dining without having its staff check whether they’re vaccinated or not. A vaccine passport mandate was implemented in San Francisco earlier this year by Democrat Mayor London Breed, and similar systems have been implemented in New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and several other U.S. cities.

The San Francisco location was reopened to outdoor dining and takeout.

Some would-be customers in Pleasant Hill criticized the move to shut down the business.

“It’s not their job, they’re here to make hamburgers for us in all reality,” said Sean Vance to ABC7. “Absolute government overreach, it’s too much government control over us, we are a nation of freedom,” said Army veteran Laura Moser.

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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