Grocery stores, restaurants suffering from the thermal dome of the Northwest

Melting spilled ice on the sidewalk in Portland

Photo: Nathan Howard (Getty Images)

We already have I told you that this morning on the effects of the Pacific Northwest thermal dome on the region’s oyster beds. But many other businesses are suffering, including grocery stores and food trucks, which were absolutely not equipped to withstand temperatures above 100 degrees. (And why would they be? In a normal Pacific Northwest summer, 80 degrees is considered uncomfortably hot.)

Business intern compiled numerous reports of how the heat is affecting grocery stores in the area. Refrigeration malfunction is very common, as many refrigerated sections have open shelves and store owners have been forced to stop selling perishables like meat and dairy while closing the aisles. Others have tried to preserve their product by covering everything with plastic sheeting.

Air conditioning is also a problem; many units cannot withstand the heat. At least two Fred Meyer sites near Seattle use rooftop sprinkler systems to cool the air conditioning and freezer units. Meanwhile, many stores sell Gatorade and other electrolyte drinks that are helpful in combating the heat.

In Portland, which has a big and famous food cart scene, cart owners are also suffering. “I don’t know how the food carts are going to handle this,” said one. told CNN. Many carts have had to stop because it’s too hot to cook (the temperature inside a cart can be 20 degrees higher than outside) and because customers don’t want to cook. line up in the heat, and those are the luckiest: others have suffered damage to their refrigerators and carts themselves after components melted in the heat. These losses represent thousands of dollars, putting enormous pressure on companies that already operate with low margins.

Brick and mortar restaurants, although air conditioned, suffer from similar problems. Naomi Pomeroy, chef in Portland and a member of the city’s Independent Restaurant Coalition, told CNN that after the year COVID which has already caused major changes in the industry (greater reliance on take-out, demand for higher wages, labor shortage), this heat wave may be more than some restaurateurs can handle. “The pandemic has kind of exposed a lot of flaws in our business model,” she said. ““ At the heart of it all, it’s really going to be big versus small, and… it all seems to be big business focused. “

And now with climate change there is the possibility (probability) of having more heating domes, another thing to worry about.