The popular fast-food chain In-N-Out Burger will be banning employees from wearing masks on the job in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Utah.

The policy, which begins on August 14th, 2023, will permit masks with a valid medical excuse.

Why the change? Customer Service.

Show Them Your Smiles

In a move that might be seen as potentially compromising employee safety and comfort, in addition to highlighting the importance of customer service, officials from the company suggest that this policy also promotes better communication between staff and guests.

The policy states that In-N-Out is “introducing new mask guidelines that emphasize the importance of customer service and the ability to show our Associates’ smiles and other facial features while considering the health and well-being of all individuals.”

Mandates, Reports, and Guidelines… Oh My!

With state and federal mask mandates lifted, and the CDC only suggesting that employees be permitted to mask if they choose to, there is no clear guideline or standard in place to say who is right or wrong as policies like this one emerge.

The policy at In-N-Out isn’t even company-wide. Employees in Oregon and California who choose to mask up (or are required to by state law) are simply required to wear a company-approved N95.

Until OSHA can complete its infectious disease standard, there isn’t much consistency in how companies across any industry might handle masking expectations.

What do you think about In-N-Out’s decision to ban masks?

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About the Author

Jon Knight

Jon Knight leads the NASP Team’s media creation department. He has been involved with workplace safety training since 2017 with a focus on course creation. He also provides video production and voiceovers for NASP content.
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