In-N-Out Burger: ‘We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government’

When it comes to taking basic precautions to protect public health, some businesses are really showing their a-ses. We’ve heard of yokel restaurants refusing to serve people wearing masks, resulting in low online ratings and sane customers avoiding them. In cities with indoor vaccination requirements, others are drawing lines in the stand. West Coast staple In-N-Out Burger has been cited multiple times at their San Francisco location for failing to check indoor diners’ vaccination status, as is required in that city. That In-N-Out location was closed by the health department when they ultimately refused to comply, but has since reopened without indoor dining. It turns out that this was deliberate by In-N-Out and wasn’t just a staffing issue. In-N-Out has been owned by one family since it started in 1948 and has not become a franchise. Their legal officer issued a defiant statement saying they’re not going to comply with indoor vaccination requirements. It was full of loaded language that sounds straight from Fox News.

Earlier this month, the company’s sole location in San Francisco — located in the neighborhood of Fisherman’s Wharf — was temporarily shut by the city’s Department of Public Health after the restaurant refused to stop patrons who couldn’t show proof of vaccination for eating indoors, according to The Guardian. (A city mandate that took effect earlier this year on Aug. 20 requires restaurant owners to check guests’ vaccination status.)

A San Francisco Department of Public Health spokesperson told The Washington Post that officials have had to remind employees at the burger joint to check for vaccine cards on numerous occasions since late September.

After employees did not do so despite the warnings, it prompted the Department of Public Health to shut down the restaurant on Oct. 14. The closing of the location marked the only time that the organization ordered a vaccine card violation-related closure, per the outlet. The restaurant has since reopened, but only for takeout and outdoor dining.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out’s chief legal and business officer, reflected on the company’s responsibilities and said, “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,” he continued.

“We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business,” Wensinger added. “This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper and offensive.”

[From People]

It’s particularly egregious when companies use words like “segregate” and “discriminate” to disagree with basic health measures. This company prints Bible verses on their wrappers in small print so I shouldn’t be surprised that they’re taking this stance. I’ve heard their burgers are quite good, but I bet this will lead a lot of people to stop eating there. It’s one thing to be lax about checking vaccination status, and it’s quite another to compare vaccination requirements to policing, discrimination and segregation. I hope the federal government looks into whether they’re requiring employees to show proof of vaccination or frequent negative tests. Oh and look they support Republican causes because of course they do.

The Republicans are going to In-N-Out now to support their trash stance. Hope they’re vaccinated.

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77 Responses to “In-N-Out Burger: ‘We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government’”

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  1. Merricat says:

    I like that they’re speaking up, since I prefer not to support those people with my hard-earned dollars. Eff off, In-n-Out. I can get a great burger so many other places.

    • lolalola3 says:

      Ditto. Bon Voyage In-n-Out. 5 guys now has my burger biz.

    • marehare says:

      I like In N Out but due to their support of GOP insurrection, anti women’s rights, and recall of Gavin Newsom, I won’t be spending my money at their joints anymore. We have some great burger joints in my town that don’t support Trump, didn’t support overturning our election, don’t support taking away women’s rights, voting rights or climate change, so I’ll support them instead. Their burgers are better than In N Out anyday.

      • Rev says:

        If only conservatives supported women’s rights by putting the rights of a man in a dress before any woman’s. 100s of days of “peaceful protesting” by far-leftist anarchists resulting in millions of dollars in damages, injury, death and attacks on multiple government buildings but you’re still whining about one damn day.


        I love when the woke automatically stops liking something due to politics. The burgers still taste the same.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        Good to know.

    • Yup, Me says:

      Agreed- be loud so I know where NOT to go.

      Of course, we stopped going to In-N-Out when we learned they were Trump supporters.

    • Yup, Me says:


  2. EviesMom says:

    I agree. Keep showing us who you are… plus I don’t think their burgers are all that. They didn’t have a vegetarian option last time I was there (2019) and the fries weren’t good enough to make up fit that omission. Next!

  3. aang says:

    People make such a big deal out of this place. I’ve given it 3 tries at a few different CA locations. It’s not great, always super crowded, and just all around not worth the hype. Now I’ll definitely never go there again. If I’m going to eat something that horrifically unhealthy I’d rather have 5 Guys. I am going to try the Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce at Popeyes this weekend, just because I love her.

    • lucy2 says:

      Same – I tried it twice when in CA, and thought it was mediocre at best. Knowing this now, I wouldn’t rush back even if I loved it.
      I love Five Guys and am glad there’s not one closer to me.

    • waitwhat says:

      Thank you…I never understood the hype, either. Five Guys is SO MUCH better.

    • Jan90067 says:

      I tried it once, years ago to see what all the braying was about. The place here in my area of LA has soggy burgers and limp fries. Never been back, and now I sure as hell will never go.

      The Proof of Vaccine takes effect in the CITY of LA on Nov. 4th. I wonder who else is going to show their asses down here.

    • sally says:

      I was SO excited to try them when I went to L.A. in 2018 but was very underwhelmed. The animal style fries were kinda good and I liked the unsweetened ice tea, but I did not understand why they were so hyped beyond the relatively low price for L.A. I ended up enjoying Popeye’s and Panda Express way more when it came to fastfood places.

    • Nic says:

      I spent my honeymoon in SF and because I’d heard so much about it we went. OVERRATED. honestly I’ll never understand the appeal. Life is too short for mediocre-at-best burgers. And I won’t even get into the fries.

      • MaGnomer says:

        Idk when you had your honeymoon, but if you were in San Francisco, why?! Aah! So many better places to grab a bite. Infinitely! I recommend ROAM burgers, myself!

    • L4frimaire says:

      In N Out doesn’t do it for me. We last ate there in summer on our way down to LA and it’s just ok. Honestly, I prefer a Bic Mac or Quarter pounder when it comes to fast food burgers. Also their fries are not crispy. The absolute best burger I’ve had in a long time, like a real proper restaurant burger, was at the Roosevelt Hotel in H’wood. Cost a lot more than InNOut but so good.

  4. Leah says:

    This is a huge mistake that they are making. I mean I knew they donated to gop causes on the sly but I didn’t know that they were completely stupid. Los Angeles will soon have a proof of vaccine requirement and there’s a lot of In-N-Outs here.

    The last time I went through one of their drive thru’s, the inside of the restaurant was packed from buns to fries. I mean people were literally leaning against the windows. I remember saying to someone in the car with me that the line was long but look at the inside of the place.

  5. Cessily says:

    Never eaten there🤷🏻‍♀️..

    • terra says:

      Neither have I, as they’re still pretty new here in Texas. They were on my list to try, but they’re off of it now.

      I’ll stick with Whataburger, thanks.

      • Lucy says:

        Stick with Whataburger for sure. I’m in Dallas and when they opened I remember the news coverage was nuts. Whataburger is better. The California fries upset my stomache. I do like their portion sizes, and animal style burger was ok.

        This isn’t that surprising, isn’t the heiress into car racing and married to Jesse James, Sandra Bullocks Nazi ex? Or did they divorce.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        I love my Whataburger!!!! I love the one close to my house!! They know me and I always get a freshly made cheese burger with onion rings!! Love my Whataburger!!!

      • AnnaC says:

        @Lucy Jesse James is, or was, married to John Paul DeJoria’s daughter. He founded Paul Mitchell hair products and a few other businesses but not In-N-Out.

    • Becks says:

      Neither have I and there is one that is walking distance from my house! It’s always so crowded and it affects traffic in that intersection. It’s so annoying, and now knowing this, I will never support them.

  6. Lynne says:

    I really like in-an-out burgers but I’m not giving them anymore business because of this. They made a lot off the pandemic because of the drive through option and obviously the greed rises to the top with them doing this now. Check out the family business. A lot of deaths and suicides.

  7. Chaine says:

    The Chick-Fil-A of the west…

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      I’ve tried In-n-Out once and Chick-Fil-A once. Not a fan of either.

      Culver’s is my go to burger outside of some smaller locally family owned restaurants we support.

  8. MaryMae says:

    I’m not surprised by this. They have bible verse numbers printed on their wrappers and cups.

  9. Teebee says:

    When this is over, much like the days when governments had to step in and manage public health with seatbelts, or helmets for motorcyclists, or smoking, or asbestos, on and on and on, the people and businesses that pouted about freedom and police states will look stupid and moronic. When this is over close to a million Americans will probably have lost their lives. No amount of mental gymnastics will be able to erase that fact from history. And those that went on record downplaying, denying, or defying this pandemic will wish they’d stopped, counted to ten, and then shut the fuck up.

    I have been little surprised by the people and businesses that have behaved terribly during this pandemic. Every time another headline pops up, my head goes, “not shocked”. And I think about how my life gets simpler and simpler as I knock those off my list to support, patronise, or care about.

  10. Lunasf17 says:

    Way over rated place! I get forcing underpaid employees to argue with anti vaxx customers and check their status is annoying but if that’s the law then that’s the law.

    • STRIPE says:

      To be fair, In and Out pays very well. It’s on par with Trader Joe’s and Costco in that respect.

  11. Asking for a friend says:

    Love In-n-Out burgers to an extreme degree (ok, not their fries) but I won’t ever go back. I’m not even sad about it.

  12. kgeo says:

    Well, their burgers are trash. I said it.

    • Layday says:

      I’m glad someone else is saying it so I don’t have to. I was excited to try it when I went to California because of all the hype. My friend and I didn’t even finish our burgers we were both so underwhelmed. Don’t even get me started on how awful the fries were. Their food honestly isn’t even good enough to be wading into partisan politics….this isn’t some brave moral stand. It’s straight up libertarian freedom to be selfish doctrine. No thanks.

      • kgeo says:

        I came back to see if anyone agreed! I did the same thing. Got it when I was at UC Davis for a week. It was so bad. I couldn’t believe how long I waited. I really don’t understand the hype. That picture up above looks gross too.

      • Nic says:


    • ama1977 says:

      THANK YOU!! I’m looking at the art-designed ad page thinking, “ew, gross.” If it looks that bad in the advertising, what does it look like when you get an “actual” burger? Also, I’m in TX (I know, I know, we are the worst) so it’s not like I was going anytime soon, but now I will never patronize them. Whataburger 4lyfe!!!

  13. Marietta2381 says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I think this is disgusting for In and out to do. I kinda figured they were definitely right leaning and kind of like Chick Fil-A of the west.

    The issue I have, what happens when a person can’t take the vaccine because of pre-existing conditions, are they just not allowed to eat inside in San Fran and soon LA? I think that’s a little messed up. And yes I am vaccinated and whole-heartedly believe in it.

    • Merricat says:

      If you are unable to have the vaccine for health reasons, you are given a government exemption. And if you have a health reason that causes you to be unable to have the vaccine, you would probably want to avoid indoor public places, due to the people choosing not to be vaccinated.

    • Still_Sarah says:

      @ Marietta2381 : they can still eat outside or in their car or take it home to eat there. Easy

    • Bettyrose says:

      I’m pretty tired of the whataboutamedicalexemption??? Where are these people who have such severe auto immune disorders that they can’t get the vaccine but are desperate to eat in a crowded restaurant during a pandemic? I’d love to hear that rationale.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        Seriously… anyone concerned with their medical status and having legitimate exemption would stay FAR away from any risky situation.

        Geez, it’s *almost* as if it’s a dead giveaway to illegal false vax status posters. Go figure.

  14. girl_ninja says:

    It’s good to know where these companies stand on health issues. I’ve tried In & Out burgers a couple of different times and they’re just okay. I don’t get the popularity at all.

  15. SpankyB says:

    I haven’t had In-n-Out in about 6 years. The more I learned about the family’s religious and political leanings, the more I hated supporting them. So I don’t.

  16. Rocķy says:

    Obviously this is being done for political reasons. And cannot be allowed. But having said that, its not fair that the burden of enforcing this law is falling on the shoulders of underpaid, usually young workers.

  17. Marcie says:

    Honestly, Fox News language aside I kind of agree with them. Their employees have to act as bouncers now too? Unless the state is willing to pay for security at all restaurants maybe they should just cancel indoor dining for the time being. People have been killed over telling customers to wear a mask.

    • Merricat says:

      I could not disagree more. People who would literally kill a restaurant employee for being asked to wear a mask are not fit for society and should be jailed for the rest of their natural lives, not placated.

  18. Remy says:

    I love in n out. But alas with their comment, I won’t be patronizing their establishment anymore.

  19. Tiffany says:

    So that means they don’t care about basic hygiene standards either.

    Just from thay word salad the lawyer released.

    And what lawyer with a grain of salt would allow this to go that far.

  20. Willow says:

    I do feel bad for employees having to enforce the vaccination card law. Do they have a card for medical exemptions?
    But the way this company is protesting this is not about protecting their employees but making it political and religious. A stupid approach.

    And BTW, here in rural WV, at the ChikFilA, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, and even the local businesses where they tell you to ‘have a blessed day’ as you leave, everyone, employees and customers are wearing masks. And there is no state mandate ‘forcing’ anyone. It’s not religious or political, just common sense.

    • Merricat says:

      Yes, there is a card for medical exemptions.

    • STRIPE says:

      I feel bad for the employees as well.

      A very upscale restaurant where I live stopped asking for vaccine proof (well before required) until they hired a bouncer -A f*cking bouncer- because people were flipping out at the hostesses. I legitimately feel terrible for the service workers having to deal with this issue.

  21. Laura says:

    Tried them once years ago because I went to California for the first time and heard of this west coast obsession with this chain and I don’t get it the burgers aren’t that great, the fries are even more boring and now learning they’re a fast food version of hobby lobby, no thanks.

  22. Sminty says:

    There is I think one or two In-N-Out locations in Vancouver, but it is not a big chain here. I was going to check them out. But no longer. I will now never, ever patronize this chain.

  23. Jay says:

    When I see this kind of rhetoric coming from a restaurant, it always makes me wonder what other rules and regulations they don’t feel like following – handwashing? refrigeration? basic food safety? After all, why should the government decide when your meat is “cooked”? It’s a free country, right?

  24. sassafras says:

    Ugh. I agree with a lot of businesses that it’s unfair and unsafe to expect their workers to handle the anti-vax crowd. No one deserves to be spit at, filmed, yelled at, etc. I know lots of people who have worked there and they are a very pro-employee company, with some of the highest wages in the fast food industry and overall good treatment.

    They should have just framed it as protecting their employees …But that language…. OOF. NO.

  25. outoftheshadows says:

    This is very un-Dude.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      Yes. They don’t abide.

      Someone needs to inform them of Washington’s troops and the smallpox vax mandate. Idiots.

  26. Grant says:

    In-N-Out sucks. Their burgers are meh and their fries are disgusting. Whataburger all the way!!!

  27. Lionel says:

    Oh this makes me sad. I love In-And-Out, it’s our family’s favorite road trip stop. (During the depths of the pandemic when all indoor dining was closed, one around here turned off part of their sign so it read “Out Burger,” which I thought was cute!) And now I can’t go there anymore, sigh.

    Side note, this seems like a dumb stance to take in SF. I’m not sure there are enough right-wing folks around to create a customer base.

  28. paranormalgirl says:

    Don’t need their burgers anymore. Used to always get a double double animal style when I was out west, but nope. No more.

  29. The Recluse says:

    There isn’t one where I live, not that that matters. I prefer Beyond Burgers from Carl’s Jr. And they have good fries too.

  30. Msmlnp says:

    1) in n out burger is entirely underwhelming. Prefer my fries to not taste like a slightly salted styrofoam.
    2) there is a difference between not wanting to police and adhering to health code. They could keep their dining room closed and offer to go only- correct? I’ve been to that exact in n out- it’s not that big inside but was very busy when I went. They are showing themselves as fools here. They could still be doing business without dine in options.

  31. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Great! Serve COVID burgers. I know where not to go.

  32. Lissdogmom02 says:

    I prefer Burgerville, if a PNW restaurant, I’ve tried in & out there are 2 I’m Oregon I’m not impressed. Burgerville uses local resources so Tillamook cheese burger with locally sourced meat & produce, it’s more spendy but the only fast food I like

  33. Sofia in TX says:

    Shake Shack was giving free fries to anyone who showed a vaccine card a while back. Also, their burgers and fries are so much better!!

  34. Bettyrose says:

    Honestly this is the first I’d heard there’s an In & Out in SF. I think of it as an LA thing. But Fisherman’s Wharf is primarily a tourist attraction and not a very interesting one at that.

  35. Jules says:

    This is what happens when the woke hipsters get out of balance, thinking they are all enlightened, using big words like “vaccination police”.

  36. Annabel says:

    “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,” said a representative of an industry that posts “no shirt, no shoes, no service” signs on all their doors

  37. JillyBean says:

    Crap. I really liked their burgers- but won’t be going there again.

  38. CruzMom says:

    I just picked up burgers from In n Out (I had not seen this story!). The line was MUCH longer than normal. It went for a few blocks. I thought it was because of the free rainy day hot chocolate, but obviously this is why. I shouldn’t be surprised (particularly in a year that started off with an insurrection), but man that’s depressing.

  39. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Who wants to give them a history lesson about Washington’s troops and smallpox?

  40. Gingerly says:

    I love In n Out but nope nah never again. I don’t need a side of manipulative antivaxity w my fries. And yes I’m in the apparent minority that lovED their fries.