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In-N-Out Burger in Fight with San Francisco Health Officials Over Vax Protocols

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The In-N-Out Burger location at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco was temporarily closed last week for not checking customers for proof of vaccination as officials with the restaurant chain gear up for a fight over city COVID regulations.

An In-N-Out Burger representative confirmed in a statement that the San Francisco Department of Public Health closed the 333 Jefferson Street location last Thursday, Oct. 14, "because In-N-Out Burger Associates (employees) were not preventing the entry of customers who were not carrying proper vaccination documentation."

The representative said the restaurant -- the only In-N-Out location in San Francisco -- has since reopened but, indoor dining is unavailable. The restaurant is currently take-out only.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health also confirmed the temporary closure on Oct. 14th, noting that was the date health officials gave the restaurant its final notice of violation and notice of closure "for noncompliance with the Safer Return Together Health Order."

The SFDPH said officials "directly informed In-N-Out Burger representatives multiple times about the proof of vaccination requirement," visiting the location on September 24 following a complaint.

"The outreach team provided information so the restaurant could comply with the law," the SFDPH statement read. "Inspectors from the SFDPH's Environmental Health division followed up on October 6 and found that In-N-Out Burger was still in violation of the health order."

The company's Chief Legal and Business Officer Arnie Wensinger said in a statement that the location "properly and clearly posted signage to communicate local vaccination requirements."

However, Wensinger's statement went on to disagree with the SFDPH requirement that restaurant employees "must actively intervene by demanding proof of vaccination and photo identification from every customer, then act as enforcement personnel by barring entry for any customers without the proper documentation."

The statement said that the company believes in serving all restaurant customers and making all feel welcome, and said the company would not comply what it called the requirement to act as "vaccination police."

"We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government. 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," the statement read. "We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business. This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive."

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