Like In-N-Out, Some Bay Area Restaurants Don't Want to Check for COVID Cards

Other fast-food chains in counties with mandates in place have shut down indoor dining so employees do not have to verify if customers are vaccinated.

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Lines continue to be drawn in the debate over some counties requiring restaurants check COVID vaccination cards before letting people inside.

The battle blew up after San Francisco and Contra Costa County shut down In-N-Out burger locations for refusing to follow the rule. But how are other restaurants handling the mandate?

In-N-Out didn't mince words when recently responding to the mandate, saying the fast-food chain should not be the "vaccine police" for the county. It appears In-N-Out is not alone in feeling that way.

Lines continue to be drawn in the debate over the requirement in some counties that restaurants check COVID-19 cards before letting people eat inside. At focus Thursday was In-N-Out which shut down indoor dining in all of its Contra Costa County locations. Ginger Conejero Saab was in Pleasant Hill where people protested the mandate.

Some fast food chains NBC Bay Area visited on Thursday -- Burger King, Wendy's, KFC and McDonald's -- did not want to bother with the question on who should enforce vaccine requirements or mandates from the county. So the restaurants have since closed off all indoor dining like In-N-Out.

Taco Bell was an exception. A location in Walnut Creek had an open dining room complete with signs reminding customers of their requirements. But after an NBC Bay Area reporter completed an order from a digital kiosk indicating they would be dining indoors, no one at the restaurant asked for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

The experience was different at Chick-fil-A where cashiers were checking vaccine cards for customers dining in.

Kalpana Mishra co-owns Babalou's Mediterrenean restaurant in downtown Walnut Creek. She supports masking and vaccine requirements, but admits enforcing the mandate puts her employees and her business in a precarious position.

"Even if we ask they get really upset," Mishra said. "Nobody wants to carry their vax card. Nobody wants to show that, so we at least ask them to be masked."

Mishra, like In-N-Out, is looking for more support from the county or local officials. Five In-N-Out locations in Contra Costa County remain shut down for indoor dining as of Thursday.

More people were expected Thursday to protest outside the In-N-Out Burger in Pleasant Hill to show their support for the restaurant, which has refused to check the vaccination or negative test status of indoor diners as required by Contra Costa County. Bob Redell reports.
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