California county closes In-N-Out over vaccine verification
PLEASANT HILL, Calif. (AP) — Another California county closed down an In-N-Out restaurant on Tuesday because the popular burger chain refuses to enforce COVID-19 vaccination rules.
Contra Costa County health officials indefinitely shut the Pleasant Hill restaurant after it ignored repeated warnings to verify that customers who wanted to dine indoors had vaccination cards or proof they had tested negative for the virus in the past 72 hours.
The county has issued several warnings and fines for local In-N-Out restaurants, including two in Pinole and San Ramon.
Public health authorities see vaccination enforcement requirements as vital tools in slowing COVID-19 at a time when 1,500 or more Americans are dying each day from the virus.
However, In-N-Out, based in Irvine, Calif., has consistently refused to heed the requirements.
“We refuse to become 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,” In-N-Out said in a statement.
On Oct. 14, the only In-N-Out in San Francisco was closed for several days after repeatedly refusing to follow that city’s public health mandate, authorities said.
The restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf reopened last week but is supposed to only offer takeout and outdoor dining. However, the city’s Department of Public Health is investigating a complaint that it continues to permit indoor dining, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.