Another Bay Area In-N-Out temporarily shuts down over vaccine mandate; LA set to enact requirement

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Contra Costa Co. suspends permit for Pleasant Hill In-N-Out
Contra Costa County has suspended the permit of the In-N-Out in Pleasant Hill after more citations for not following the vaccine mandate.

PLEASANT HILL, Calif. (KABC) -- With the city of Los Angeles set to enact a COVID vaccination mandate for indoor restaurants next week, another Bay Area In-N-Out Burger restaurant has temporarily shut down due to its refusal to enforce the health requirement.

Contra Costa County has suspended the permit of the In-N-Out in Pleasant Hill after more citations for not following the vaccine mandate. This means the restaurant is currently closed.

Earlier this month, KGO-TV reported on the restaurant's first two citations, as well as the San Francisco restaurant being shut down for indoor dining.

KGO learned Tuesday that the Pleasant Hill location received two more citations. The news station also learned the Pinole and San Ramon locations have also received violation notices.

In-N-Out issued a statement from its chief legal and business officer, saying it refuses to become the "vaccination police for any government."

The county says they shut down the Pleasant Hill location because it was allowing indoor dining, but repeatedly not checking for proof of vaccination.

"They have just flouted the law and it was other residents who complained about them, and that is why the health department followed up and issued fines," says Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia.

The move drew harsh criticism from some would-be patrons on Tuesday night.

"It's not their job, they're here to make hamburgers for us in all reality," said Sean Vance.

"Absolute government overreach, it's too much government control over us, we are a nation of freedom," says army veteran Laura Moser.

With Los Angeles set to enact a proof of vaccination mandate for indoor restaurants on Nov. 8, whether local In-N-Out restaurants will comply remains unclear.

Last week, ABC7 asked an In-N-Out spokesperson if the company's Los Angeles restaurants will comply with the city's new mandate. The spokesperson referred back to the fast-food chain's previous statement.

Those from the non-partisan California Business Roundtable say that while they support vaccinations, they do have concerns over these vaccination mandates.

"To ask a part-time, potentially high school student to confront customers on a daily basis asking them medical information, that is very contentious at this point, it is a very difficult position for any employer to put an employee in," says Brooke Armour of the California Business Roundtable.

But many customers KGO spoke with also defended the county mandate with Supervisor Gioia.

"I still think it's important, we're not out of this," said Sherilyn Ward.

"I get it, they're not the vaccination police, but they're in food service," said Peter Colicchia.

"They need to do what 99% of the other restaurants are doing, follow the rules in the interest of public health and not be the exception," said Supervisor Gioia.

There is no timetable on when the Pleasant Hill restaurant will be able to reopen. The county says they are able to appeal this permit suspension.

San Francisco In-N-Out Burger in Fisherman's Wharf is also currently under investigation. The San Francisco Department of Public Health received a complaint that the restaurant had not closed indoor dining like they were supposed to.

The health department said: "Since Oct. 14 the business has been required to close indoor dining because of violations to the City's Safer Return Together Heath Order for not checking patrons for proof of vaccination for indoor dining. In-N-Out is required to close indoor dining until adequate health and safety measures are approved and implemented. The business is allowed to operate for take-out and outdoor dining only."

You can read In-N-Out's full statement on the Pleasant Hill incident here:

"On Tuesday, October 26, our restaurant at 570 Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill, California, was closed by the Contra Costa Health Services Environmental Division. The reason for the closure is that In-N-Out Associates were not actively demanding vaccine documentation and photo identification from each dine-in Customer before serving them.

As a Company, In-N-Out Burger strongly believes in the highest form of customer service and to us that means serving all Customers who visit us and making all Customers feel welcome. 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.

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."

KGO contributed to this report.