Double-double-down: In-N-Out remains defiant against order to demand vaccination proof

The Biden administration seems to have lost its enthusiasm for vaccine mandates and deputized enforcement. California’s major cities haven’t, and one of the state’s most iconic fast-food chains hasn’t lost its taste for defiance. Once again, In-N-Out faces ruinous fines for refusing to demand vaccination papers from its customers before allowing entry to its indoor dining area, this time in Los Angeles.

CBS’ Los Angeles affiliate wanders close enough to the line between reporting and activism to give the impression of crossing it entirely here:

Even with the threat of fines of up to $5,000, it appears that one of California’s most iconic fast food chain restaurants, In-N-Out Burger, remains defiant as enforcement of the city’s mandate that customers’ proof of vaccination be confirmed for indoor dining goes into effect.

CBSLA’s political reporter Tom Wait visited In-N-Outs across the city Tuesday night and found that it was business as usual, despite the fact that burger chain could face fines.

At no point, during any of the visits to five different locations, was Wait ever asked to show proof of vaccination, not while entering the restaurants, while ordering or even while sitting a table indoors.

Was Tom Wait and his TV crew really so hungry that they needed to visit five different In-N-Out locations to get properly fed? Or did CBS LA conceive this as a half-assed “sting” on a business with a Double Plus Ungood position on policy? Clearly it’s the latter, which prompts the question as to why the station just didn’t simply follow up with the company to see if it had changed its compliance position after the conflicts with San Francisco and Contra Costa.

I mean, it’s not as if In-N-Out was being shy or coy about its position on access. The company has been firm and consistent in their position that they “refuse to become the vaccination police for any government.” Nevertheless, CBS LA prioritized the Burger Beat with this limp sting operation while New York Magazine scooped them on corruption in the mayor’s office from 3,000 miles away:

When Eric Garcetti gave his State of the City address on April 14, 2016, it was an unofficial pitch for his reelection as mayor of Los Angeles. Garcetti, who had been in office for three years, stood on the production floor of an LED manufacturer, portending a literally bright future for a Democratic star whose name would soon be floated for a presidential run. The day had gone off without a hitch, with every detail, from the selection of the venue to the social-media posts, closely overseen by Naomi Seligman, Garcetti’s director of communications, who had spent weeks with her staff drafting the mayor’s widely applauded speech.

Seligman’s team had just returned to her office in City Hall for a debriefing when her boss, the political consultant Rick Jacobs — Garcetti’s deputy chief of staff — burst into the room. Seligman speaks with the poised, hyperefficient cadence of a veteran comms strategist, but she winces when she describes what happened next. “He crushes me against his body, pulling me in with all his strength,” she says now, telling her story publicly for the first time. “I’m like a rag doll. He’s pulling me into him and kisses me on the lips for some long, uncomfortable period of time. He kisses me on the lips. I’m trying to push back, but he has my arms pinned down against the sides of my body so I have no leverage to push back.” …

For the past decade, those who experienced or witnessed Jacobs’s alleged harassment say this has been the line delivered behind closed doors to them by the Garcetti administration: Yes, we know about Rick, but he’s the mayor’s friend and there’s nothing we can do. Earlier this year, in a lawsuit brought against the city over Jacobs’s behavior, Garcetti testified under oath that he knew nothing about multiple allegations leveled against the man he once called a “dear friend, as well as one of my most trusted advisers.” Now, however, four people who worked closely with Garcetti and Jacobs are speaking publicly for the first time, saying the mayor was fully aware of Jacobs’s behavior. Despite alleged harassment so rampant it was called an open secret, some of which Garcetti allegedly witnessed, Jacobs kept his job at City Hall and later became Garcetti’s most influential strategist, laying the groundwork for a White House run, orchestrating off-the-schedule meetings, and traveling around the world with the mayor.

CBS LA ended up reporting on the report in a lame update on the scandal:

Report: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Was Aware Of Aide Rick Jacob’s Inappropriate Behavior

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had been aware for years of the allegations of inappropriate behavior against his former deputy chief of staff, Rick Jacobs, according to a new report Wednesday in New York Magazine.

Great use of reportorial assets, guys!

Anyway, back to the horror of eating Animal Fries in a dining area governed by privacy. The effort by cities and counties to force business owners to conduct inquisitions of their customers serves as a reminder that big government is often lazy government. These mandates would be unenforceable in any scale if the governments that imposed them had to enforce them with their own resources. Businesses shouldn’t be forced into performing enforcement work on their behalf, at least not without compensation. Mask mandates are one thing, but demanding medical records from patrons is invasive and absurd, as is asking teenagers to distinguish which records are genuine.

If In-N-Out doesn’t want to serve as Garcetti’s enforcement squad, they shouldn’t be forced into that position. Patrons who feel uneasy about eating indoors without the Papers Police on hand can choose to eat elsewhere. Kudos to In-N-Out for not only having terrific burgers but a real sense of what liberty means, not just for themselves but for customers as well. They should be commended for not “becom[ing] the vaccination police for any government,” while CBS LA should explain why they’re working so hard to volunteer for that duty.