A week from Monday, restaurants in the city of Los Angeles will be required to check indoor diners for proof of COVID vaccination -- a situation in the Bay Area that has caused controversy after an In-n-Out burger location took a stand against the mandate.
So what happens with In-n-Out Burgers' in LA when the local requirement takes effect?
In-n-Out corporate calls it “government overreach," saying it’s not right to compel its employees to be vaccination police.
In the Bay Area, it has not budged and has, at some locations, had to suspend dining inside. There are a lot more In-n-Outs in Los Angeles.
In-n-out Burger is recognizably part of the California Lifestyle, but now that the restaurants is in a COVID controversy, devotees are taking sides.
"It’s their business however they want to run things," In-N-Out regular Rick Rodriguez said.
Vaccine requirements do not extend to takeout, including from inside with a mask, and that’s been a workaround in Contra Costa County, where In-n-Out has several restaurants with lines in some cases getting even longer. Some are even holding demonstrations outside the store, holding signs and shouting, "Stop the mandate!"
When asked about it yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom chose his words carefully.
“I encourage everybody to take seriously local health orders, and I encourage everybody to support businesses that support the state," he said.
After San Francisco temporarily shut down the In-n-Out on Fisherman's Wharf, corporate issued a statement characterizing the requirement as “overreach“ and calling it “intrusive, improper, and offensive.“ But many customers say they would not mind.
"If they don’t enforce it, I’ll stop coming in," said customer Shirley Roberts. She did say she would be fine with drive-thru.
LA County already requires proof of vaccination in bars and some other locations – – not restaurant or dining rooms – but the city of LA will begin enforcement as the measure takes effect a week from Monday.
Irvine-based In-n-Out owns and operates all its stores, so it is not a franchise owner decision.
On Thursday, corporate declined to comment on LA's looming requirement or say anything beyond the earlier statement. But as it is, In-n-Out does have some time—a full month. Though the effective date for LA‘s requirement comes a week from Monday, enforcement is not scheduled to begin for another three weeks after that, on Nov. 29.