A new report alleges that fast food chain In-N-Out Burger is banning employees from sporting masks while on the clock, unless they obtain a doctor’s note.
The Street reported that the changes are being implemented in hopes of promoting better communication between staff and customers.
Activist Dr. Lucky Chan claimed via Twitter that he obtained a corporate document announcing the policy, described the new rule as “discriminatory” and encouraged the public to reach out to higher-ups at the fast food chain to address their concerns.
“We believe this policy will also help to promote clear and effective communication both with our Customers and among our Associates,” the document reads. “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.”
In-N-out employees who wear a mask while working could face risk of termination, according to the document.
The document is directed toward branches operating in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Texas. However, restaurants in California, Oregon and Hawaii were excluded. Locations in the five affected states can expect to see the policy rolled out on August 14.
The national coronavirus emergency officially ended back in April, but during the pandemic, In-N-out faced criticism and was forced to temporarily close some of its locations after they refused to comply with the state of California’s policy requiring restaurants to check COVID-19 vaccination status.
“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” said In-N-Out Burger’s Chief Legal and Business Officer Arnie Wensinger at the time, slamming the San Francisco Department of Health’s requirements as “unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe” and accusing the city of asking restaurants to “segregate Customers” based on vaccine documentation.