Could In-N-Out be coming to Florida?

The sign to an In-N-Out restaurant is shown in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The In-N-Out hamburger chain is sizzling mad after San Francisco shut down its indoor dining for refusing to check customers' vaccination status. The company's Fisherman's Wharf location, its only one in San Francisco, was temporarily shut by the Department of Public Health on Oct. 14. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (Jeff Chiu, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TALLAHASSEE – In-N-Out Burger could become the next Florida convert as a result of the state’s COVID-19 policies, or at least that’s what Florida’s Chief Financial Officer hopes.

When Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis heard the burger chain In-N-Out was fighting back against San Francisco’s vaccine passport policy, he reached out to the company with a proposal: Why not come here?

“Why wouldn’t In-N-Out want to come to the bastion of freedom that we call the State of Florida?” Patronis said.

While In-N-Out hasn’t responded yet, it’s clear plenty of other businesses have bought what Florida is selling.

The latest numbers show Florida is adding jobs at a rate three times higher than the national average.

“Florida is the place to be,” Florida TaxWatch President Dominic Calabro said.

Calabro said Florida hit the mark creating a business climate free from government mandates.

“To make sure that we did not have the Californication of Florida,” Calabro said.

But Democrats warn the state is towing a thin line on COVID-business policy.

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith argued the Governor’s call to penalize companies with employee vaccine mandates goes too far.

“Businesses should have the freedom to be able to make their own decisions without Governor Ron DeSantis telling them what to do,” Smith said.

The business community is keeping fairly silent on the Governor’s special session agenda.

Since last week’s announcement we’ve reached out to the Florida Chamber to weigh in twice, and twice our inquiries have gone unanswered.

Calabro said when dealing with the private sector, lawmakers should be cautious.

“Businesses want to do what’s best for their employees, their customers, and their stockholders, and they’re going to be held accountable and responsible for it. And they really can’t be held as directly accountable and responsible if somebody else is making those decisions for them,” Calabro said.

How to balance free-market ideals and personal liberties is sure to be the focus of many debates at the State Capitol over the coming weeks.

Despite the Governor’s announcement last week, there still has not been an official date has been set for a Special Session.