You know that In-N-Out is owned by evangelical Christians, right? Well, the unfortunate crossover between religion and anti-vaccine stances has come to roost at the only San Francisco location of the beloved burger chain, as we now learn that they've been in a quiet battle with the SF Department of Public Health over the vaccine mandate for indoor dining.
The In-N-Out at Fisherman's Wharf (333 Jefferson Street) was shut down by the health department on October 14, as KRON 4 reports. The location has since reopened without any indoor dining, but the company is digging in its heels about vaccine mandates, because of course they are.
"We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government," said In-N-Out Chief Legal & Business Officer Arnie Wensinger in a statement. "We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business."
In-N-Out says that it properly posted the local health orders about mask and vaccine requirements, however the company line is that they refuse to act as enforcers. But it seems that a compromise has been reached, allowing counter-service takeout only, so that the location doesn't have to remain closed.
Starting in early August, San Francisco began requiring bars and restaurants to check for proof of vaccination for any patrons looking to drink or dine indoors. Vaccines aren't required for outdoor dining.
Los Angeles, which is home to many more In-N-Out locations, is also requiring proof of vaccination for indoor dining, but that rule doesn't take effect until November 1. Expect more of this brouhaha when In-N-Outs all over L.A. have to start enforcing that rule.
In-N-Out's overt religiosity dates back to at least the early 1990s, as company owner Lynsi Snyder explained in a rare interview two years ago. It started with her now deceased uncle putting Bible verses on the soda cups like "John 3:16," and when Synder "found Jesus" herself, she added them to fry containers as well. Snyder, the only grandchild of In-N-Out founders Harry and Esther Snyder, inherited full control of the business after the death of her grandmother four years ago.
San Francisco has otherwise seen little pushback from businesses about the vaccine mandate in the last two months. But then again, we don't have any Chick Fil-A locations here.