In-N-Out Burger restaurants in Los Angeles apparently are remaining defiant and not checking proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for customers who dine inside the iconic burger joints — a violation of the city's mandate, which KCBS-TV reported is the strictest in America.
What are the details?
A reporter from the station, Tom Wait, visited five In-N-Outs across the city Tuesday night and found it was "business as usual," with restaurant workers not once asking for vaccination proof from Wait, KCBS said.
At least one customer told the station he agrees with In-N-Out: "You have the right to eat here or not. It's their business, not ours ..."
KCBS said In-N-Out didn't immediately respond to its request for comment.
What's the background?
The controversy surrounding In-N-Out and vaccine mandates began in October when the chain ripped San Francisco's proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirements after the city's Department of Public Health closed one In-N-Out for serving customers without proper papers.
"After closing our restaurant, local regulators informed us that our restaurant Associates must actively intervene by demanding proof of vaccination and photo identification from every Customer, then act as enforcement personnel by barring entry for any Customers without the proper documentation," In-N-Out Burger's chief legal and business officer, Arnie Wensinger, said in a statement.
He added that "we refuse to become the vaccination police for any government" and called the requirements "unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe."
Later in the month, officials in nearby Contra Costa County shut down an In-N-Out in Pleasant Hill for the same reason after the location had garnered four citations over several weeks and had to pay fines totaling $1,750.
After the Pleasant Hill location shutdown, In-N-Out's Wensinger issued a similar, defiant 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. This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive."