A second In-N-Out restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area faces a fight with health officials over COVID-19 vaccine rules.
The chain’s Pleasant Hill restaurant has been fined twice, for $250 and $500, for not checking the vaccination status of indoor diners, as required, Contra Costa County health officials told KPIX. The county imposed the second fine Tuesday.
In-N-Out earlier blasted San Francisco officials for ordering the chain’s only restaurant there to briefly close over the same rules, McClatchy News reported.
“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” Arnie Wensinger, the chain’s chief legal and business officer, said in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“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, “ Wensinger said.
The restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf has since reopened but without indoor dining, KTVU reported.
Like San Francisco, Contra Costa County requires restaurants to serve only people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative for the virus for indoor dining.
“Our health inspectors have visited the business and observed violations of the local order,” spokesman Karl Fischer told The Mercury News.
“I think this is just crazy,” customer Michelle Woolard told KPIX. “I think it’s horrible and it’s government overreach. We are eating here tonight because we want to support In-n-Out.”
“I think they should be fined,” customer Jeremy Moniz told the station. “I mean, it did feel uncomfortable with how many people are in there. It is packed in there.”
In-N-Out has 328 restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Utah.
More than 242 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide with more than 4.9 million deaths as of Oct. 21, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States has had more than 45 million confirmed cases with more than 731,000 deaths.