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A second Northern California In-N-Out is forced to close for violating COVID-19 rules

Gregory Yee, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — Officials in Northern California on Tuesday closed a second Bay Area In-N-Out Burger restaurant, after employees repeatedly failed to check customers eating indoors for proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative coronavirus test result.

The closure is the latest salvo in a conflict between the Southern California-based fast food chain and San Francisco Bay Area public health officials who have enacted some of the strictest COVID-19 rules in the state.

Similar requirements for proof of vaccination are set to take effect Nov. 8 for businesses and restaurants in the city of Los Angeles.

In a statement, Contra Costa Health Services confirmed that the In-N-Out located at 570 Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill was forced to close after repeatedly violating county rules.

Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out's chief legal and business officer, fired back in a statement calling the public health rules intrusive to private businesses.

"We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government," Wensinger said.


The closure comes 12 days after San Francisco's only In-N-Out restaurant was forced to temporarily close for violating a local rule requiring proof of vaccination for indoor patrons. The restaurant, located on Fisherman's Wharf, has since reopened for outdoor dining only.

Los Angeles' impending crackdown could be an important test of the In-N-Out chain's resistance to rules requiring proof of vaccination. The exact number of the chain's locations in L.A. wasn't available, but there are at least 16, mostly in the San Fernando Valley.

The L.A. ordinance, approved earlier this month by the City Council, requires proof of vaccination to eat inside restaurants or to enter shopping malls, movie theaters and other indoor venues. The measure includes escalating penalties for businesses that don't enforce it.

Officials in Contra Costa County, located east of San Francisco and Oakland, said they gave the In-N-Out in Pleasant Hill ample opportunities to comply, but it created a public health hazard by "repeatedly violating" the county order. That order, in effect since Sept. 22, requires restaurants and some other indoor establishments to verify that all customers 12 or older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had a negative coronavirus test within the previous 72 hours.


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