In-N-Out Burger’s two newly opened Colorado restaurants each have active COVID-19 outbreaks with 80 staff members having tested positive for the virus between the two locations, according to state data.
The wildly popular fast-food chain based in Irvine debuted in the state Nov. 20 with locations in Aurora and Colorado Springs. Each now have coronavirus outbreaks among employees, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
State health officials consider an outbreak to be two or more cases linked to the same location or event. Outbreaks are deemed to be active until four weeks have passed with no new cases.
The outbreak at the Aurora location was declared Dec. 17, with 20 staff members confirmed to have tested positive for the virus and another 16 employees listed as probable COVID-19 cases.
The Colorado Springs location’s outbreak was confirmed by the state Dec. 6. There have been 60 positive employee cases at the El Paso County site, with another nine suspected cases among staff members.
The state has not linked any customers to either outbreak.
Both restaurants remain open, and state health officials generally do not require restaurants or other retail locations with outbreaks to close.
Denny Warnick, In-N-Out’s vice president of operations, acknowledged the “concerning number of Colorado associates who have tested positive for COVID-19” in a statement, adding, “Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our customers and associates.”
All employees who tested positive and those who had close contact with them “have been excluded from the workplace,” Warinck said.
“We continue to work closely with our public health agencies and have confirmed the appropriate steps to help protect our communities,” he said. “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.”
Since opening to much fanfare in Colorado last month, each location has experienced long lines. That mania has persisted; the drive-thru line this past Saturday in Aurora was still more than three hours long. Neither of the fast-food chain’s Colorado locations has active indoor dining due to the state’s COVID-19 regulations.
There are currently several active outbreaks at other fast-food establishments in Colorado. Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s and Wendy’s each have outbreaks at one or two locations apiece — each with fewer than 10 employee cases — and no customer infections have been linked to any of the restaurants, according to state data.
This content was originally published here.