Aug 10, 2023


By Faris Tanyos

July 19, 2023 / 12:09 AM / CBS News

Beginning next month, employees for the popular chain In-N-Out Burger will be banned from wearing masks in five of the seven states where it operates.

According to internal company memos leaked online, In-N-Out employees in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Texas will be barred from wearing masks beginning Aug. 14. Those who wish to wear a mask after that date will need to obtain a medical note, the company said.

However, employees in California — where In-N-Out is headquartered — and Oregon will be exempted from the requirements due to state laws there.

The company wrote in its memos that its new policy will "help to promote clear and effective communication both with our customers and among our associates."

Employees who receive permission to wear a mask "for medical reasons must wear a company provided N-95 mask," the memos read.

This is not the first time that In-N-Out has implemented controversial policies since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In October of 2021, health authorities in San Francisco temporarily shuttered an In-N-Out store on Fisherman's Wharf for refusing to check customers' COVID-19 vaccination status, as was required by local laws.

"We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government," Arnie Wensinger, the chain's chief legal and business officer, said in a statement at the time.

That same month In-N-Out was also fined hundreds of dollars for refusing to check customers' vaccination status at a store in Pleasant Hill, California, which is also in the Bay Area.

CBS News reached out to In-N-Out for comment regarding the latest policy, but did not immediately hear back.

— Caitlin O'Kane contributed to this report.

First published on July 19, 2023 / 12:09 AM

© 2023 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.