In-N-Out Burger, a popular fast food chain, will soon ban its employees in five states from wearing masks, underscoring « the importance of customer service, » according to a new policy.
Effective Aug. 14, In-N-Out employees in those states who wish to wear a mask must have a valid medical note « exempting them from this requirement, » a company statement said. Those who wear masks for medical reasons must wear a company-supplied N95 mask, he says.
The new policy will apply to employees of the chain in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas and Utah.
“Our goal is to continue to provide safe, customer-centric store and support environments that balance two things In-N-Out is known for: exceptional customer service and unmatched standards for health, safety and quality,” the memo states. .
Those who fail to comply with the new guidelines could be fired.
« We believe this policy will also help promote clear and effective communication with both our customers and among our associates, » the memo said.
The company said employees have entered Locations in Oregon and California those who choose or are required to wear a mask must wear a company-provided N95 mask. (The company did not go into detail about wearing a company-supplied N95 mask versus one the employee purchased.)
In-N-Out did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment on the new policy.
However, the chain’s memo says the policy will be reviewed periodically to « ensure its effectiveness and compliance » with evolving health guidelines.
Following the news of its new mask policy, many on social media responded to the fast food chain’s announcement.
Dr. Judy Stone, an infectious disease physician, criticized the new policy, saying in a tweets which violates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 recommendations and urged followers to contact In-N-Out headquarters.
In a chirpHolly Mancuso called it « a terrible policy, » adding, « Respect your workers enough to let them make their own choices for their health. »
In-N-Out is no stranger to being targeted for pushing back on COVID-19 policies.
In 2021, its San Francisco office was temporarily closed by the Department of Public Health for failing to properly vet customers’ proof of vaccination.
The Department of Health told NPR that public health officials had notified In-N-Out of the proof-of-vaccination requirement multiple times, but that the restaurant failed to comply.
An In-N-Out restaurant in Pleasant Hill, California it was also closed for refusing to comply with county COVID protocols.
Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out’s chief legal and business officer, said in a statement that the San Francisco restaurant posted signs informing customers of local vaccination requirements, but didn’t stop those who didn’t have the documentation. adequate from entering.
“We strongly disagree with any government mandate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to sponsor their business,” Wensinger said. « This is [a] clear governmental excess and is intrusive, improper and offensive ».
NPR’s Rachel Treisman contributed to this report.