West Coast burger joint In-N-Out will soon ban wearing masks in five states, according to leaked memo which is given to the fast food section.
The company announced its new policy in an internal statement, which was shared on Twitter last week by Dr. Lucky Tran, a public health advocate who works at Columbia University. The insider confirmed the policy through the company’s customer service department.
In-N-Out ― known for its cheery staff, no-nonsense burgers and Bible interpretation cups and covers – said employees in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas and Utah will not be allowed to wear protective face coverings on August 14.
The company said the policy is being implemented to “emphasize the importance of customer service and our Associates’ ability to display a smile and other facial features while considering everyone’s health and well-being.”
The memo said non-compliance could result in discipline “up to and including termination of employment”, but exemptions can be granted with a doctor’s note for employees with “specific medical conditions or health concerns”.
In-N-Out will not be able to enact the no-mask policy at its restaurants in California and Oregon, where employers are prohibited from prohibiting employees from covering.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that masks work, as well as regular vaccines an effective measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Strategic prevention strategies — like staying up-to-date on vaccines and wearing masks — can help prevent serious illness and reduce the potential strain on the health care system,” the federal agency’s website says.
In-N-Out did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for further comment regarding its mask policy.
These new rules aren’t the first instance of the burger business taking a skeptical stance on COVID.
In 2021, its location was in San Francisco shut down temporarily after the establishment refused to check the vaccination status of indoor dining customers, per the city’s vaccine mandate.
At the time, the company’s legal officer, Arnie Wensinger, said, “We refuse to be the vaccination police of any government. It is unreasonable, invasive and unsafe to force our restaurant colleagues to separate customers into those who can be served and those who cannot, whether based on their documentation, or for any other reason.”