California In-N-Out shut down over vaccine mandate

An In-N-Out restaurant in Contra Costa County, Calif., has been shut down for violating the county’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.

Health officials closed the restaurant Tuesday after it would not check the  vaccination status of people who wanted to eat indoors.

“The reason for the closure is that In-N-Out Associates were not actively intervening by demanding COVID-19 vaccine or testing documentation and photo identification from each dine-in Customer before serving them. Rather than acting as enforcement agents, our Associates were allowing our Customers to be responsible for their own compliance with the divisive local regulations,” In-N-Out Chief Legal and Business Officer Arnie Wensinger said in a statement.

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Officials say the restaurant had multiple warnings before they were ultimately told to close indefinitely for violating the mandate.

“The Pleasant Hill In-N-Out location received four citations in recent weeks and fines totaling $1,750, all for the same health order violation, before today’s action,” Contra Costa Environmental Health said in a statement. 

Two other In-N-Out restaurants in the area have also been given fines and warnings for not checking a person’s vaccination status before they eat.

The closing and fines in Contra Costa County follow an In-N-Out in San Francisco that was closed for several days for not checking people’s vaccination status.

The restaurant was allowed to reopen because they agreed to only have takeout and outdoor dining.

In-N-Out Chief Legal and Business Officer Arnie Wensinger supported the restaurant through the whole process, saying it shouldn’t be their job to police a person’s vaccination status.

"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, whether based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason," Wensinger said in a statement. 

Updated at 4:51 p.m.