In-N-Out Burger Sends Unmistakable Message to San Francisco's Vaccine Police


As if you needed another reason why In-N-Out Burger should be your favorite fast food place — or at least one of them.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Department of Public Health temporarily closed the burger joint’s outlet at Fisherman’s Wharf on Oct. 14 after they refused to check visitors’ vaccine cards — leading to the company castigating San Francisco for its mandate.

It’s been the only San Francisco eatery closed for violating the mandate, according to the Health Department.

“Despite multiple warnings, In-N-Out employees continued to let customers into the restaurant without verifying their vaccination status since at least late September. (The city’s indoor vaccine mandate for businesses, including restaurants, went into effect on Aug. 20),” the Chronicle’s Elena Kadvany reported.

“In-N-Out acknowledged the enforcement violation, calling San Francisco’s indoor vaccination requirement ‘intrusive, improper and offensive’ governmental ‘overreach.’”

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The outlet is the only In-N-Out in San Francisco.

“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” said In-N-Out’s Chief Legal and Business Officer Arnie Wensinger in a statement.

“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.”

While the restaurant in the historic tourist area has reopened, it doesn’t feature indoor dining.

Would you like to see more companies take a stand against vaccine mandates?

Of course, the city noted that it had tried repeatedly to get the restaurant to enforce the mandate.

In a statement, the Public Health Department said it had “attempted multiple times to bring the business into compliance with the health order” with no success.

“The business was instructed to cease all operations on site immediately because of the threat it poses to public health,” the statement read.

Kadvany called the In-N-Out’s refusal to check vaccination cards “the most brazen example of a San Francisco restaurant pushing back against the indoor vaccine check,” proof that San Francisco businesses need to start getting more brazen.

However, she did note that “mask mandates and other coronavirus requirements have been a flash point for restaurants throughout the pandemic, including some Bay Area owners who made headlines for defying public health orders. In Mendocino, a now-closed cafe went viral for charging customers who wear face coverings a fee.”

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At least there’s that.

San Francisco is hardly the only city with a vaccine mandate for indoor dining — and it hasn’t gone particularly smoothly in New York City, the most populous city in the nation and home to its most contentious mandate.

Most notably, a local Black Lives Matter chapter protested last month after a fight at Manhattan fixture, Carmine’s — during which a party of black patrons faced ejection when two of their number couldn’t produce proof of vaccination.

The Epoch Times, meanwhile, reported earlier this month that restaurateurs they talked to in the city were seeing their business down 40 to 60 percent since vaccine mandates started to be enforced by the city.

But, for the most part, these restaurants aren’t willing to put up any kind of organized resistance. Not only did one of the best burger chains in America do it in San Francisco, they made it clear why they were doing it and made the stand in what’s arguably one of their most visible locations.

And you thought you only loved In-N-Out for that sauce, for their secret menu or for the Bible verses on their packaging.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture