Mask advocates raged at popular West Coast burger chain In-N-Out, after the company banned mask-wearing for employees in five states.
The policy will start August 14, according to a leaked memo, and will affect employees in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas and Colorado. Stores in California and Oregon, which have laws preventing employers from banning masks, are exempt from the new policy.
The In-N-Out memo said the decision was intended to improve customer service by showing off employee’s smiles. Exemptions would be given to employees who had a “valid medical note.”
Even if approved, the employee must wear “a company-provided N-95 mask,” per the memo unless the employee’s doctor says otherwise.
Mask advocates complained about the new policy on social media, and encouraged their followers to contact the company’s customer service line to voice their opposition.
Columbia University Irving Medical Center scientist Dr. Lucky Tran, who shared the leaked employee memo on Twitter, slammed the policy as “discriminatory” and “harmful.”
You can send In-N-Out Burger a comment about their discriminatory policy banning masks here: https://t.co/GXFsBbzgMZ
— Dr. Lucky Tran (@luckytran) July 14, 2023
“Please remember to call In-N-Out and tell them that their ban on wearing masks is harmful,” she tweeted.
Please remember to call In-N-Out and tell them that their ban on wearing masks is harmful. They are taking calls and sending feedback to management. It’s really easy to to do, and you get right through to someone without any wait.
☎️ Call this number ➡️ 1-800-786-1000 pic.twitter.com/hOs4C6A3VB
— Dr. Lucky Tran (@luckytran) July 15, 2023
Epidemiologist Dr. Eric-Feigl-Ding also warned others to “avoid” the burger chain.
Burger 🍔 joint to avoid- In N Out.
In-N-Out employees in five US states will no longer be allowed to wear masks as part of new company guidelines. Employees would need to get a doctor’s note if they do, explaining why. https://t.co/ElpdFsbRd6
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) July 19, 2023
Some Twitter users gave a more blunt response to the mask ban.
Independent journalist Walker Bragman cursed at the burger chain while writing them off as “a weird, culty right-wing company anyway.”
“Well, f–k In-N-Out Burger then,” he tweeted.
“In-N-Out Burger doesn’t give a s—t if you’ve got an immune compromised family member at home. Or if you yourself are immune compromised,” another liberal tweeted. “Triggered by masks. F—k off In-n-Out. I do not care if I go into a business and someone is wearing a mask.”
Another Twitter user announced she was “too upset” about the mask policy to put her thoughts into words.
I wrote 3 different responses and erased them all. I’m too upset to appropriately put my thoughts into words.
But I will, because the employees of in-n-out burger deserve our support. https://t.co/oDt33hqu1g
— Dr. Theresa Chapple (@Theresa_Chapple) July 17, 2023
“I wrote 3 different responses and erased them all. I’m too upset to appropriately put my thoughts into words. But I will, because the employees of in-n-out burger deserve our support,” she tweeted.
California, In-N-Out’s home state, was one of the strictest states in the nation on enforcing masking policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the fall of 2021, the city of San Francisco temporarily shut down an In-N-Out restaurant that refused to follow a mandate forcing customers to prove they were vaccinated against the coronavirus.
In-N-Out did not return a request for comment.