In-N-Out Bans Employees From Wearing Masks

California fast-food institution In-N-Out Burger announced that it will soon ban employees from wearing masks in five of the seven states in which it operates restaurants, according to an internal memo leaked Friday

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The exceptions? Workers in California and Oregon will still be able to mask, if they choose, to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other illnesses.

According to the memo, employees will no longer be allowed to wear face coverings come August 14, unless they have a medical note. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The policy was implemented to “help to promote clear and effective communication” between employees and customers.

“We are introducing new mask guidelines that emphasize the importance of customer service and the ability to show our Associates’ smiles and other facial features while considering the health and well-being of all individuals,” the memo said.

If employees want to continue wearing a mask, they must provide a medical note for “a specific medical condition or health concern that requires them to wear a mask” to their manager or In-N-Out’s human resources department. Approved employees must wear a company-provided N-95 mask. (The company did not provide a reason for wearing a company-issued mask versus one purchased by the employee.)

The note “should clearly state the reason for the exemption and include the estimated duration, if applicable,” the memo added.

Failure to comply may result in disciplinary action.

Dr. Judy Stone, an infectious disease expert and writer, denounced In-N-Out’s new policy on Twitter, saying that it violates COVID-19 recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and “endangers” employees.

Still, others online voiced their approval of the announcement, agreeing that it would improve customer service and that the move was appropriate, claiming the pandemic is over.

This is not the first time the beloved burger institution has come under fire for pushing back against pandemic health policies.

In October 2021, In-N-Out’s San Francisco location was forced to close its doors temporarily for flouting a local mandate that required indoor customers to show proof of vaccination.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times


  1. JimNorCal says

    Good for In’N’Out for pushing back on superstition.
    I do hope that they add a religious exemption to the medical exemption. It’s beneficial for the company and the community to set the correct standard but it is OK to provide an “out” for those so troubled that they would be unable to hold the job if required to conform.

  2. Amy Sellers says

    Buying a burger today to show support!
    Common sense rules! After all, the CDC thinks it’s safe for men to take lots of drugs and “chest-feed.”

  3. Requiring and providing an N95 mask for those who insist is medically valid since this mask actually blocks viruses from entering when worn proper. An N95 mask used by a construction worker is not same N95 mask used in the medical field so it makes sense for the company to provide it. This policy is great cause it shows what a joke the CDC mask policy is. Boxes of regular masks state they do not block viruses. Look for the fine print on the box next time at Costco.

  4. Rottweiler says

    Masks have no effect on covid-19. It will ruin your teeth by causing your saliva to dry up thus leaving you susceptible to gum and tooth decay. Breathing carbon dioxide and simply having the threads or small fibers that come off the mask tends to be breathed in and can lodge in your lungs. Your lungs see it as a invader and scar tissue can form over it. Long covid is long gone and so should the hysteria. If you get covid lavage your nasal passages with saline, distilled not tap water and a few drops of betadine twice a day thus bringing your viral load down greatly. Gargle with Hello mouthwash for kids which has xylitol which has been used as an anti-bacterial for decades. You will be covid free in 3 days and non-contagious. Worked for me as I tried to take off the week you are entitled at the hospital I work at. Tested negative after 3 days and they made me return to work. Bummer. my co-workers got the week.

  5. Of course, even intelligent people can be unnerved by unrelenting propaganda or cowed by social pressure exerted by mask-believers. I saw it happen; ordinarily sane people accusing maskless friends and even strangers of trying to kill people.

    Since we always comment on the better-than-the-average-bear intelligence level of IN-N-OUT employees, I imagine most did not buy in to the mask myth and will ditch the masks happily.

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