A new policy from west-coast burger chain In-N-Out has revealed the popular franchise has banned employees from wearing face masks without presenting a doctor’s note demonstrating they have a legitimate medical need for one.
The internal In-N-Out document was first shared by by Dr. Lucky Tran on Twitter last week, revealing that the chain was set to introduce new mask guidelines that were primarily designed to “emphasize the importance of customer service and the ability to show our Associates smiles and other facial features while considering the health and wellbeing of all individuals.”
Effective August 14th, “no masks shall be worn in the Store or Support facility unless an Associate has a valid medical note exempting him or her from this requirement.” Any employee who has a “specific medical condition or health concern” that would require them to wear a face mask must provide a medical note to a manager or HR that clearly states “the reason for their exemption and include the estimated duration, if applicable.”
The new policy only applies to In-N-Out locations in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Utah. According to NBC News, employees in Oregon and California can choose to wear a mask, but are only permitted to wear an N95 model approved by the company.
Employees who do not comply with the new rules could face “appropriate disciplinary action” from In-N-Out management, including termination.
“We believe this policy will also help to promote clear and effective communication both with our Customers and among our Associates,” In-N-Out stated.
But news of the policy was not well-received amongst leftist activists on social media, who attacked the chain for their decision despite the fact that the National Health Emergency surrounding COVID-19 was ended in April this year by the Biden administration.
“F**k In-N-Out for putting their employees and their customers at risk with this forced no mask policy,” said Twitter user Hanner. “I don’t want to see their f**king smiles, I want them to be safe. They’re working sh*t jobs to survive and now you’re telling them it’s either protect themselves or have a job.”
In 2021, In-N-Out refused to comply with mandates in northern California that would require restaurants and other outlets to publicly check the vaccine cards of their customers, and ended up receiving $750 in fines for not enforcing the order, which the company called “intrusive, improper, and offensive” governmental overreach.
“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” said Arnie Wensinger, the Chief Legal and Business Officer for In-N-Out at the time. “It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant associates to segregate customers into those who may be served and who may not, whether based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason.”