A California court recently ruled that employers are not responsible if their business infects a worker with COVID-19. While mask mandates are largely lifted, many immunocompromised people still opt to mask up for extra safety precautions. Amid the ruling, iconic California burger chain In-n-Out has banned all of the company’s workers from wearing facial masks while preparing the food.
Many are frustrated at what the ruling could result in for workers who are immunocompromised or have immunocompromised family members. Thousands have died since the initial outbreak of COVID-19. Albeit the more manageable strains, due to a combination of viral mutations and the conservative conspiracy theories surrounding the vaccine, the virus continues to spread.
Now, social media users are reacting with sadness and anger towards both the burger chain and the state for allegedly throwing workers’ health safety to the wayside.
Many are highly disappointed in the consumer favorite burger chain’s personal decision to put workers and customers at risk. Others also worry about the implications the state ruling at large could have on medical costs for the infected.
One week ago, a court in California ruled that employers cannot be sued for spreading COVID to their workers due to lack of protections.
This week, In-N-Out banned their employees from wearing masks.
This is horrible. pic.twitter.com/GYHcAIsDtz
— Dr. Lucky Tran (@luckytran) July 14, 2023
Some share stories of loved ones they lost to COVID-19 due to alleged employers’ reckless behavior regarding the virus. The pandemic first broke out in 2020, and after three years of fluctuating safety precautions, the virus was deemed endemic. An endemic is considered a virus that is consistently present, but manageable within a certain region.
My dad died because 1 employee (in a leadership position) lied about his staycation and went to FL and took risks. Almost the entire office got Covid, there was multiple hospitalizations (resulting in at least 2 deaths) and some have long covid. I wanted to sue. My mom said no.
— Sara Atkins 💛 ✡️ (@SaraAAtkins) July 14, 2023
Outside of this perspective, conservative media personalities continue to push back against COVID-19 precautions. Some argue that private businesses should be able to run their establishments as they so choose, and that the immunocompromised are responsible for their own safety. This argument has been present since the start of the pandemic.
Private business should be able to run thier business the way they choose. Consumers can choose to shop there is they would like. If someone is compromised and has a medical reason it looks like that an excemption so what’s the problem.
Healthy people are not at a risk to die…
— digitalphotobuzz (@digitalphotobuz) July 14, 2023
Some say that it is only “common sense” to ban masks. Right-leaning personalities continue to make the argument that facial masks limit personal freedoms.
What a win for common sense!!!
— Epistemophile Ham✝️ (@VagueHam) July 14, 2023
Many encourage current In-N-Out employees to strike or sue the company.
This is absolutely batshit, just for the record, and I hope someone sues.
— Laura Miers (@LauraMiers) July 14, 2023
One Twitter user argued that few healthy employees were masking at this point, and that the company’s statement was a direct hit towards chronically ill workers and workers with disabilities.
Btw I would find it hard to believe more than 5% of employees in these states are masking right now so this is just targeted harassment of people with disabilities and chronic illness.
— Anna (@Annatated) July 14, 2023
Customers are speaking up regarding the workers’ safety as well. One Twitter user wrote that she did not mind whether servers wore masks or not, and that all that mattered was the food quality and service.
As a customer, I don’t care if I can see an associate’s smile or not. It has nothing to do with me receiving good customer service. I would rather the associates wear a mask if that is what they are most comfortable doing. As I should be able to wear one for the same reason.
— Julia (@jshbooks) July 14, 2023
In-N-Out CEO Lynsi Snyder is yet to comment on the mounting controversy at this time. The chain most recently announced its expansion to the middle Tennessee region. It is unclear at this time whether the company’s workers are unionized or intend to strike.