In-N-Out Burger Briefly Shuts in San Francisco Over Vaccine Mandate

The city health department said it had told the restaurant “multiple times” to check vaccine cards before letting patrons dine inside.


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In-N-Out Burger briefly shuts after clashing with San Francisco over a vaccine mandate.

The In-N-Out restaurant in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.Credit…Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Oct. 21, 2021, 6:14 a.m. ET

In-N-Out, the popular burger chain in California, was forced to close its only San Francisco outlet last week after it failed to comply with the city’s requirement that all restaurants check the vaccine cards of indoor diners.

The restaurant shut down all operations on Oct. 14, but it has since reopened for outdoor dining and takeout after implementing measures to comply with the mandate, the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Public health officials directly informed In-N-Out Burger representatives multiple times about the proof-of-vaccination requirement,” the department said, adding that no other restaurant in the city had needed to be reminded.

In-N-Out did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. But The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the chief legal and business officer for In-N-Out, Arnie Wensinger, said in a statement: “We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government.”

The chain has 257 locations in California, according to the company’s website.

The friction comes as the country continues to grapple with pandemic mandates, underscoring the challenges facing hospitality workers who, in some places, have been tasked with enforcing rules on mask-wearing and vaccinations.

The property’s owner was also issued a notice of violation, according to the city.

The department of public health said businesses have several options to operate that do not require vaccination check-ins.

“The vast majority of businesses have worked in partnership with the city to protect public health, understanding that the health and safety of our community remains our highest priority and our reopening is contingent on us getting the virus under control,” the department said.

On Twitter, the city’s approach was more jocular and included a tweet suggesting that the name of the restaurant could be changed to “In-N-Out(side).”

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