NewsNews5 Investigates


Sonic employees not following mandate to wear masks when serving customers

Posted at 5:14 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 12:17:25-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — In April, Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) issued public health orders requiring all employees wear face masks as a safety precaution.

However, some people have told us through our news tip hot line that not all Sonic Drive-In employees are complying with those health orders.

One email sent to KOAA News 5 reads:

My wife and I have ventured out only a few times to local fast-food restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have noticed a huge difference in control measures taken. For example, Chick-fil-A at Barnes and Powers has all employees with masks, wash stations for them outside, a process to minimize touching of your bags, etc. Even Taco Bell at Palmer Park and Powers seems to be doing a reasonable job implementing additional precautions such as having you insert your card in the machine, masks, etc. However, when at Sonic on Constitution and Powers today, one server was wearing a mask, but other than that I did not observe any real visible efforts to adapt. One server did not have a mask and was taking food to cars. It gave us the feeling that they may be lax on health standards at this critical moment in time and so we won't be going back.

In order to see whether this problem was an isolated incident, our cameras were rolling as Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Ross and his photojournalist visited four area Sonic locations throughout the city.

603 S 8th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80905606 N Chelton Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80909
6065 Constitution Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80915
5250 New Car Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Our first stop was as the Sonic location near Powers and Woodmen on New Car Drive.

An employee who brought out food to our undercover photographers was wearing a mask. However, we did spot other employees not wearing masks.

At the drive-thru, we also saw an employee come out with a mask around her neck, but it was not covering her nose or mouth as she brought food out to a car in line.

At the Constitution and Powers location, we did not spot any violations on the day we visited. The one employee seen bringing out food was wearing a mask.

Our third stop took us to the Sonic location near the Citadel Mall on Chelton Road. An employee showed up to work without a mask and began working in the kitchen.

The server who brought out food was also not wearing a mask.

Our final stop was at the 8th Street Sonic location.

One employee bringing out food was wearing a mask, while another was not.

Sonic did not respond to our request for comment.

Meanwhile, the El Paso County Health Department confirmed they have received complaints against three different Sonic locations.

A spokesperson for El Paso County Health issued the following statement to KOAA News 5:

Public Health can confirm that we have received five total complaints regarding three different Sonic locations. All complaints were regarding the use of masks and gloves. Each complaint was followed up via a phone call and Public Health provided education related to proper mask and glove requirements.