In-N-Out Implements New Employee Policy, Pushes COVID Into Rear View Mirror

In-N-Out, the fast-food behemoth, is set to prohibit employees in five states from wearing masks unless they can present a medical note, as detailed in a memo that surfaced last Friday. The policy, which will be effective starting August 14, will impact staff in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, and Colorado. California and Oregon are the only states excluded from this new rule.

The decision is aimed at enhancing "customer service" by allowing customers to see the employees' "smiles and other facial features", while also keeping the health and welfare of everyone in mind. Furthermore, the policy aims to "promote clear and effective communication" within the stores.

Employees opting to wear masks indoors must provide a medical note outlining the "particular medical condition or health issue that necessitates mask-wearing" to their respective managers. Once given approval, the employee is required to wear an "N-95 mask provided by the company", as per the details of the memo.

"Failure to comply with this policy," the memo continued, "may result in appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, based on the severity and frequency of the violation."

California, which is home to In-N-Out, continues to be one of the most stringent states nationwide when it comes to breaches of mask mandates.

As reported by Fox News Digital in June, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, officials in Alameda County, California, mandated the use of masks in the majority of public indoor spaces.

This isn't the inaugural instance of the Californian burger chain facing criticism for resisting health directives enforced during the COVID era, such as compulsory indoor masking.

In-N-Out was previously subject to media scrutiny in 2021 when the company declined to verify the vaccination status of customers upon their entry into the stores.

"We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government," In-N-Out’s Chief Legal and Business Officer Arnie Wensinger said in a statement. "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."

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