In-N-Out banning masks to improve customer service

Jul 19, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: Jul 21, 2023, 11:25 am

in-n-out workers serve customers at counter, the chain will ban masks for employees...

The new Orem In-N-Out Burger restaurant is fully staffed on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 (Stuart Johnson/Deseret News)

(Stuart Johnson/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Popular fast-food chain In-N-Out Burger is barring employees from wearing face masks during shifts in an effort to emphasize and improve customer service. 

According to a memo sent to employees, the company said these new mask guidelines will help “promote clear and effective communication both with our Customers and among our Associates.”

Removing masks will also “promote clear and effective communication both with our Customers and among our Associates,” the report explained.

The policy requires workers to obtain a valid medical note in order to wear a mask. It must also detail the reason for exemption and the estimated duration that a mask must be worn. If approved, the worker must wear a company-provided N-95 mask unless specifically exempted by the doctor.

Failure to adhere to the new policy “may result in appropriate disciplinary action,” states the memo. “Up to and including termination of employment.”

The new policy will be effective August 14. The new requirements apply in five states— Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Texas.

In-N-Out also has locations in California and Oregon, but local laws prohibit any business from banning masks.


One In-N-Out customer, Nate, said he understands their reasoning but doesn’t see why it needs to be a required policy.

“I think it’s a little bit odd that they would require a doctor’s note for them to wear a mask because I think it’s important that we have safety,” he said adding, “I think it’s important that if there’s any type of illness or any type of concern they should have the opportunity to wear a mask regardless of whether the doctor says so or not.”

Customer Tia Bunker believes this policy change is within the company’s rights.

“It should be up to In-N-Out. They’re the employer.”

She explained further that, “the employee should be able to read what is possible and required, and then decide if they want to work here.”

Drive-through employee Kaeden said he isn’t too concerned about the policy, as long as it doesn’t affect him too harshly.

“I don’t really find it as a major problem. I understand the security and I guess it’s not really a bother for me. And I understand some people take it pretty seriously, and they have their health issues, but I don’t really worry about it.”

Other consumers believe that wearing a mask or not wearing a mask should be up to the individual.

“I’m all about choice. If people want to wear masks, they should wear masks. And people that don’t want to wear masks should never have to wear a mask,” said In-N-Out customer Sheldon.

In-N-Out’s Covid history

This is not the first time the company has made a stand against Covid requirements.

In 2021, a California location temporarily shut its doors because it didn’t want to adhere to the mandate to verify customers’ vaccination status that was required at the time for indoor dining.

A statement from In-N-Out at the time explained, “We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government. It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant associates to segregate customers into those who may be served and those who may not.”

In-N-Out’s statement

In-N-Out emailed an official statement to KSL NewsRadio on Friday, credited to Chief Operating Officer Denny Warnick.

“At In-N-Out Burger, we’ve communicated with our smiles since 1948, and a smiling Associate helps to set a warm and inviting atmosphere in our stores. We believe that wearing a mask literally adds a barrier to communication – much of which is nonverbal — and promotes a more distant and disconnected environment.

In balancing these fundamental values while still accommodating the specific circumstances affecting our Associates, we have updated our internal guidelines to permit only those Associates with a medical need to wear a facemask while working. This change will be effective August 14, 2023, where local regulations allow.”

Read More:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Business + Economy

Backcountry skiers make use of the record-breaking snowpack to make some turns at Alta Ski Area, wh...

Don Brinkerhoff

UTA decreasing ski bus service due to driver shortage

UTA ski bus service this winter will be scaled back again because of a driver shortage. This is the second year in a row.

5 hours ago

Image of the words 'happy retirement' scratched into sand on the beach. A Bankrate survey found hal...

Curt Gresseth

More than half of Americans feel “behind” on retirement savings

Have you saved enough for a comfortable retirement? An expert shares tips and insights into saving and paying down debt.

7 hours ago

Carla Smith founded and operates Cornerstone Academy in Arlington, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Kaileya...

Tami Luhby and Sydney Topf, CNN

America’s child care problem is about to get a lot worse. Here’s why

Financial aid for child care costs that became available during the pandemic are set to expire this week leaving parents and daycares scrambling.

14 hours ago

FILE - Demonstrators walk with signs during a rally outside the Paramount Pictures Studio in Los An...

Samantha Delouya

Writers Guild board votes to authorize members to go back to work

Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have unanimously voted to authorize its members to return to work following the tentative agreement reached Sunday.

1 day ago

Image of Amazon logo. U.S. regulators and 17 states are suing Amazon over allegations the e-commerc...


Amazon sued by FTC and 17 states over allegations it inflates online prices and overcharges sellers

The complaint is the result of a years long investigation into Amazon's businesses and one of the most significant legal challenges brought against the company in its nearly 30-year history.

1 day ago

President Joe Biden is set to join members of the United Auto Workers union on September 26 in Wayn...

Betsy Klein and Nikki Carvajal, CNN

Biden makes a historic trip to Michigan to walk the picket line to show solidarity with striking UAW – and counter Trump

The trip comes as President Biden faces consistently low polling numbers on his handling of economic issues.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

In-N-Out banning masks to improve customer service