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60 employees at Colorado Springs In-N-Out test positive for COVID-19

covid in n out

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A little over a month after Colorado's first In-N-Out locations opened, the state is reporting COVID-19 outbreaks at the restaurants in Aurora and Colorado Springs.

The Colorado Springs location has a whopping 60 staff members who tested positive for COVID-19, according to state data updated Wednesday. The outbreak was confirmed on Dec. 6 and is still active; nine other staff members at the Springs location are presumed to be positive for the virus.

In-N-Out customer Rachel Tulizewski didn't know about the outbreak until after she had already eaten her food.

"It's a little concerning, but does it transfer through food or anything? I don't really know," Tulizewski said.

At Aurora's In-N-Out, the outbreak was confirmed on Dec. 17, and 20 staff members tested positive for the coronavirus while 16 others are presumed positive.

Restaurants don't make up a large portion of the COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado, however, both of the popular burger joints have been busy with a stream of customers since they opened.

Both locations remain open amid the reported outbreaks. One family learned of the outbreak while waiting to place their order in the drive thru.

“It was more of a calm reaction," Jane Schimon said. "Because we just thought it’s not really on surfaces and it shouldn’t really affect it in any way. But there was definitely a little reaction.”

El Paso County Public Health spokesperson Michelle Hewitt said in a statement: "Public Health has been working with In-N-Out closely since this outbreak was identified to provide education, guidance, and technical assistance. This includes verifying appropriate quarantine and isolation measures, cleaning and disinfecting guidance, and making recommendations as needed."

Denny Warnick, the Vice President of Operations with In-N-Out, sent KRDO the following statement:

Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our Customers and Associates.  We are committed to doing our part in preventing the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

During the past few weeks we have experienced a concerning number of Colorado Associates who have tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with our Associates and we are hopeful for quick recoveries for each of those affected. Of course, all positive Associates and those who have had close contact with them have been excluded from the workplace.

We continue to work closely with our public health agencies and have confirmed the appropriate steps to help protect our communities. These steps include: limiting staff to the minimum number necessary to serve our Customers, using staff “cohorts” to limit possible exposure, and limiting dining room access to takeout orders only while ensuring appropriate physical distancing.

At In-N-Out we have always used the highest health and safety standards to protect our Customers.  These include excellent handwashing practices and frequent disinfection procedures for the entire restaurant. We strictly require Associates to stay home from work when they aren’t feeling well. As an additional layer of caution, each Associate receives a thorough health screening and temperature check before starting work. We continue to provide contactless payment options, our self-service drink stations are temporarily closed, and we are providing hand sanitizer for our Customers and Associates at every location.

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Lauren Barnas

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