Drive-thru burger stand in Olympia to close Saturday due to the heat

A local drive-thru open for nearly 21 years will close Saturday due to the excessive heat the Pacific Northwest will experience this weekend. 

Van's Burger owner, Erica Van Lierop, said the last time she had to close her restaurant due to the heat was back in 2009. She says she's making the decision to do the same this weekend because it's not worth working in the hot temperatures but says they will open back up after the 4th of July.

The National Weather Services issued an excessive heat watch for June 25-28 in Olympia. The NWS shows Saturday is expected to reach 101 degrees. In conjunction, Q13 News will also issue a Weather Alert Day Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

"I  don't think it would be safe. I think I would last maybe an hour and a half with a good attitude and then maybe another 20 minutes with a bad attitude and then be like ok I'm done with this," said Van's Burger Manager, Courtney Reese. 

RELATED: Sizzling summer heat in the PNW this weekend with record-breaking temperatures

Van Lierop said some people wanted to work, other people were concerned and she has to go with the people who are concerned.

"When people's health is at risk, working strenuously in 100-degree heat isn't good for anybody and it's definitely nothing to look forward to nor fun. We like to keep it fun," said Van Lierop.

Van Lierop said the drive-thru building has an AC and fan but doesn't do much when the temperatures reach over 100 degrees. She said they pretty much work outside because also of how their building is set up.

"It's hard, it's really warm. We have a sunroof in there so you feel the sun beating down on your neck and then the heat from the fryer coming towards you and then the relief you have this when a breeze comes through that window for 2 seconds," said Reese.

Besides keeping her employees safe, Van Lierop said the harsh temps take a toll on the equipment.

RELATED: Burn bans instated throughout Washington as record-breaking temps approach

"The refrigeration. opening everything every 10 seconds," said Van Lierop. "It's just hard on the ice cream machines. They're running constantly trying to keep things frozen."

When it comes to their customers, those who work at Van's Burger say they are understanding and supportive.

"We don't have ‘You just lost a customer’ people or anyone really slander us or anyone really negative," said Reese. "Most everyone is like 'I hope you're okay, hope everyone stays safe.'"

Van Lierop said employees will be paid for the day and that they are happy they don't have to work in those conditions.


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