SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom generally praised In-N-Out Thursday despite the burger chain’s stand against becoming “vaccination police,” which has put it in conflict with Bay Area local health regulations.
It started when In-N-Out was forced to temporarily close indoor dining at its only San Francisco because employees were not checking proof of vaccination, as the city mandates. Signs were posted at the restaurant for the vaccine requirements, however.
Shortly after, another Bay Area location closed its indoor dining for the same issue.
The popular chain, which got its start in California and is headquartered here, has not waivered in its stance against checking its customers’ vaccination records.
In-N-Out put out a statement that partially said, “We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business. This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive.”
Newsom was asked about the burger chain’s statement during a visit to Oakland where he advocated for the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. He said In-N-Out is “one of our great, home-based businesses,” for which he has “great respect and admiration.”
However, he acknowledged there is a difference of opinion with the county-level COVID mandate and mentioned that In-N-Out is not the only business which has gone against government health orders.
“There have been thousands of examples like this, some get highlighted, some don’t. In this instance, there’s an East Bay chain where there’s a bit more friction, frustration. In San Francisco, there was a week ago. Other parts of the state, not the case,” said Newsom. “But I encourage everyone to take seriously local health orders and I encourage everybody to support businesses that support this state. I appreciate that they are a headquartered California-based company.”
The Contra Costa County location still had plenty of people coming by in the drive-thru since the closure, with customers voicing support for the chain. One said they shouldn’t force its young employees to check vaccination statuses.
A Contra Costa County Health Department spokesperson had said the In-N-Out location had been warned four times before they pulled its permit, citing repeated violations of failing to check vaccine status or requiring a negative test before allowing customers to dine inside.
The county’s vaccine mandate went into effect back on September 22. San Francisco’s vaccine mandate has been in place since August 20.