Berkeley restaurants

“We refuse to become the vaccination police”

Beloved California burger chain In-N-Out is fighting back against San Francisco’s vaccine mandate. The company blew up the city after the Department of Public Health temporarily closed its Fisherman’s Wharf location on October 14 for failing to check customers’ vaccination cards. It is the only restaurant in San Francisco that has been closed for violating the indoor vaccination mandate, the health department said.

Despite multiple warnings, In-N-Out employees have continued to let customers enter the restaurant without checking their immunization status since at least the end of September. (The in-city vaccination mandate for businesses, including restaurants, went into effect on August 20.) In-N-Out admitted the violation of the app, calling the vaccination requirement inside San Francisco of “intrusive, inappropriate and offensive”.

“We refuse to become the immunization police for any government,” In-N-Out legal and commercial director Arnie Wensinger said in a statement. “It is unreasonable, invasive and dangerous to force our restaurant associates to separate customers into those who can be served and those who cannot, whether based on the literature they carry or for some other reason. . “

The temporary closure of the 333 Jefferson St. outpost, San Francisco’s only In-N-Out, was first reported by local television station KRON.

The Department of Public Health said it had asked In-N-Out to correct the violations on several occasions since late September, after a complaint was filed with the city’s 311 service center. After a first visit on September 24, health inspectors returned on October 6 and found that the In-N-Out was still not implementing the vaccination mandate. The public health department said it “made several attempts to bring the company into public health compliance” before shutting down In-N-Out on Thursday, October 14.

“The company has been ordered to immediately cease all on-site operations due to the threat it poses to public health,” the Ministry of Public Health said in a statement.

In-N-Out had posted the required signage on the city’s vaccine requirement, but employees were not enforcing it, Wensinger confirmed. The restaurant has since reopened but no longer offers indoor dining.

This is the most cheeky example of a San Francisco restaurant pushing vaccine control indoors. But mask warrants and other coronavirus requirements have been a flashpoint for restaurants throughout the pandemic, including some Bay Area owners who have made headlines for having challenged public health orders. In Mendocino, a now-closed cafe has gone viral for charging a fee to customers who wear face coverings.

In-N-Out did not immediately respond to a question about the significance of the company’s opposition to vaccine checks for sites in Contra Costa County or Los Angeles, both of which require proof of vaccination. for indoor meals. The chain has no restaurants in Berkeley, the only other Bay Area city to have an indoor vaccination mandate.

Elena Kadvany is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ekadvany


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