**In-N-Out Implements Mask Policy Excluding Five States**
The popular burger chain In-N-Out has faced controversy after announcing a new mask policy that will bar employees in five states from wearing masks, unless they have a doctor’s note. Internal company emails leaked on social media revealed the new guidelines for workers in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Utah. The company claims that this policy is in line with their commitment to customer service, which includes showcasing the smiles and facial features of their associates. However, public health officials and experts have expressed concerns about the implications of this policy.
**New Mask Policy Raises Concerns**
The memo detailing the new guidelines states that the policy will be implemented on August 14 and applies to all In-N-Out employees in the aforementioned states, except for those whose job duties require them to wear masks or protective gear, such as painters. Employees who fail to comply with the new policy may face disciplinary action, including termination.
**Laws Preventing Employers from Banning Masks**
It is worth noting that both California and Oregon have laws in place that prevent employers from enforcing mask bans. These laws were implemented to ensure the health and safety of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. In-N-Out’s decision to implement a mask policy that contradicts these laws has sparked criticism and concern.
**In-N-Out’s History of Controversy**
This is not the first time that In-N-Out has found itself at odds with health experts over safety measures. In October 2021, several In-N-Out locations in California faced fines or temporary closures due to the company’s refusal to enforce COVID-19 vaccination rules. The fast food chain has consistently demonstrated resistance to safety measures aimed at protecting both employees and customers.
**Pushback from Public Health Officials**
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Judy Stone and other public health officials have voiced their opposition to In-N-Out’s new mask policy. Dr. Stone highlights the burden imposed on employees who would need to obtain a doctor’s note, as not everyone has a primary care physician or easy access to medical services. Additionally, she suggests that requiring proof of a disability could potentially violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Dr. Stone also emphasizes the increased risk faced by individuals with chronic diseases, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults have a chronic disease, making them more susceptible to severe COVID-19. This further underscores the potential dangers of In-N-Out’s decision.
**Different Guidelines for California and Oregon**
In-N-Out employees in California and Oregon will also have new mask guidelines, set to go into effect on August 14. However, unlike in the other states, employees in California and Oregon will still have the option to wear masks in stores. These masks must be company-provided N-95 masks, and employees who prefer to wear different masks must provide a valid medical note. It is important to note that the policies outlined in the memos are subject to local health regulations, and the company will continue to evaluate accommodation for its guidelines.
In conclusion, In-N-Out’s decision to implement a mask policy that restricts employees from wearing masks in five states has sparked controversy and concerns among public health officials. The requirement of a doctor’s note and potential violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act have been raised as valid concerns. The differing guidelines for California and Oregon employees also highlight inconsistencies within In-N-Out’s approach.