Fast-food chain in California A leaked internal memo from In-N-Out Burger on Friday said that the company will soon stop letting workers in five of the seven states where it has restaurants wear masks.
The ones that don’t? Workers in California and Oregon can still wear masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other diseases if they want to.
According to the memo, workers won’t be able to cover their faces after August 14 unless they have a note from a doctor. When asked for a response, the company didn’t answer right away.
The memo said, “We are putting in place new mask rules that stress the importance of customer service and the ability to show our Associates’ smiles and other facial features while taking into account the health and well-being of everyone.”
If an employee wants to keep wearing a mask, they must show their boss or In-N-Out’s human resources department a note from a doctor that says they have “a specific medical condition or health concern that requires them to wear a mask.” Approved workers must wear an N-95 mask that the company gives them. (The company didn’t say why the employee had to wear a mask from the company instead of one they bought themselves.)
The note “should clearly state the reason for the exemption and include the estimated duration, if applicable,” the memo said.
If you don’t follow the rules, you might get in trouble.
Dr. Judy Stone is an expert on infectious diseases and a writer. She criticized In-N-Out’s new policy on Twitter, saying that it goes against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 recommendations and puts workers in danger.
This is not the first time that the well-known burger joint has been criticized for going against rules meant to prevent pandemics.
In October 2021, the San Francisco site of In-N-Out had to temporarily close because it didn’t follow a local law that said indoor customers had to show proof that they had been vaccinated.
Two weeks later, an In-N-Out in Pleasant Hill, California, was also closed for similar reasons. Officials said that the restaurant “repeatedly” broke public health rules.
Arnie Wensinger, the top legal and business officer for In-N-Out, then made a fiery statement to defend the chain’s position. “We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” he said.