In-N-Out Has Largest Coronavirus Restaurant Outbreaks Reported In Colorado

December 24, 2020
A sign at an In-N-Out location. (Craig Lloyd/Flickr/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)A sign at an In-N-Out location. (Craig Lloyd/Flickr/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
A sign at an In-N-Out location. (Craig Lloyd/Flickr/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

More than 100 employees may have contracted the novel coronavirus at two In-N-Out locations this month -- making the outbreaks the largest reported in Colorado restaurants.

Sixty-nine employees of the chain’s store in Colorado Springs have tested positive or have “probable” cases of COVID-19 in an outbreak that was first reported on Dec. 6.

In Aurora, 26 employees are positive or probable for the virus in an outbreak that began Dec. 17.

All of the reported cases were among staff, not customers. No deaths have been reported. The restaurants remain open for pick-up.

A representative for the El Paso County Health Department said that the agency was working with the restaurant to verify “appropriate quarantine and isolation measures, cleaning and disinfecting guidance, and making recommendations as needed.” That includes "hourly cleaning and disinfecting."

The two restaurants opened on Nov. 20 to enormous lines, a reflection of the California chain’s cult following. Demand remains high, with wait-times from 45 minutes to two-plus-hours reported at the two locations on Christmas Eve.

Both restaurants are in Level Red counties, meaning they are only open for pickup. They are the only In-N-Out locations in Colorado.

The state is tracking nearly 1,300 active outbreaks across Colorado, including much larger outbreaks in jails, prisons and health care facilities.

Largest outbreaks reported in Colorado restaurants:

  • In-N-Out in Colorado Springs: 60 confirmed cases, 9 probable
  • In-N-Out in Aurora: 20 positive cases, 16 probable
  • Bubba’s 33 in Colorado Springs: 21 confirmed cases, 2 probable cases

In-N-Out's vice president of operations, Denny Warnick, said in a statement that the restaurant has infection control measures in place like regular handwashing and temperature checks before each shift.

"Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our customers and associates," Warnick said. "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.

A representative for the Tri-County Health Department, which includes Aurora, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

If you know more about the outbreak, email the reporter.

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