San Francisco’s only In-N-Out Burger restaurant was temporarily closed by the city’s Department of Public Health for refusing to check customers’ vaccination status. The restaurant was later allowed to reopen – but with no indoor dining.

In-N-Out said, “We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” adding that it found the city’s vaccine mandate “intrusive, improper, and offensive.”

The restaurant’s refusal to check customer’s vaccine status and the closure have been getting strong reactions, both positive and negative, in the news and on social media.

In a statement to ABC-7 News in San Francisco, the restaurant described the shutdown, saying:

On Thursday, October 14, the San Francisco Department of Public Health closed our restaurant at 333 Jefferson Street because In-N-Out Burger Associates (employees) were not preventing the entry of Customers who were not carrying proper vaccination documentation.

The In-N-Out restaurant, located at the Fisherman’s Wharf, said it had “properly and clearly posted signage to communicate local vaccination requirements.” The statement then explained employees were being asked to demand “proof of vaccination and photo identification from every Customer,” barring restaurant access for those without proper documents.

The statement went on to explain company policy, stating that the burger chain refused to segregate customers based on vaccination status:

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.

San Francisco’s Covid-19 Health Order requires everyone to “wear a Well-Fitted Mask in indoor public settings,” including all indoor dining facilities. The Department of Public Health says, “Also, this Order includes proof of vaccination requirements for patrons to use certain indoor facilities, such as restaurants, bars, clubs, and gyms, as well as for people attending large and mega indoor events.”

According to KRON4 News, which first reported the closure, “San Francisco has 83% of eligible residents 12 and over fully vaccinated, according to the city’s latest data.”

Some on social media derided In-N-Out’s position, with comments like:

So, what other health & safety regulations are you not enforcing? Do you make employees wash their hands after using the bathroom? Require them to get tested for TB?

So disappointed in some of your northern CA locations not honoring the vaccination mandates. Delicious burgers. Poor business citizens. I don’t think I can patronize you if you believe you’re above the rules. I’ll have to recommend new places for my friends sports teams to go after games. Such a shame that you’ve taken this position. Not setting a good example for the young people in our community.

 But others applauded the company:

We would love to have you in South Dakota and YOU get to choose if you want to ask employees to get vaccinated, and NONE of our businesses (even corporate) ask for vaccine cards here!

Thank you In-n-Out for standing up to tyrannical government overreach. I loved you when I lived in CA and I love you more in WA.

Thank you for standing up for the freedoms of the USA and pushing back those who will take them away just to continue their agenda. Praying for you.

In-N-Out was started in 1948, in Baldwin Park, California, by Harry and Esther Snyder. The company says, “Harry’s unique two-way speaker box introduced the state to its first drive-thru hamburger stand.” The company now has 27,000 employees and more than 330 locations.

The burger chain keeps its menu simple, serving only burgers, French fries, milkshakes and fountain drinks. And all its cups and food packaging still have Bible citations printed on them, a practice started in the 1980s to reflect the Snyder family’s Christian faith.

Photo from Shutterstock