Thursday, June 17

Post-blockade summer: Americans go out to party and have money to spend | US News


TOAfter more than 15 months in varying degrees of closure, the US is finally ready to reopen this summer, and the signs are that many people are beginning to emerge, with their wallets loaded and their hearts searching for songs, dances and trips. .

Sixty-three percent of American adults They have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, and as life returns to “normal,” hotels and concerts sell out, cars and rental houses are full, and visits to museums and events skyrocket.

The rebound is happening so fast it’s compared to the roaring 1920s, when people emerged from the gloom of a devastating flu pandemic and global war to foxtrot and have fun. But there is a catch.

Prices for some products are skyrocketing as shortages of wood, chicken and other products meet increased demand, fueling inflation fears. A key indicator of inflation, the personal consumption expenditure index, rose to 3.1% in April from a year earlier as price pressures mounted.

And as restaurants and bars welcome revelers, many are scrambling to hire staff to keep up with the demand.

However, so far, rising prices have not reduced people’s enthusiasm for events and travel.

In Tennessee, Bonnaroo Music Festival Tickets Sold Out in record time, as well as the Electric Daisy and Rolling Loud festivals, held in Las Vegas and Miami, respectively, when musicians and artists return to touring after more than a year of staying home. The 100,000 tickets for the Astroworld festival in Houston sold out in 30 minutes, its organizer saying.

“Fans are buying tickets and events are selling faster than ever,” said Michael Rapino, CEO of ticket company Live Nation, this month. “We are seeing a demand beyond any other historical moment.”

The increase is not limited to music. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, doubled its number of visitors during the last weekend of May, and the famous place of Comedy Cellar of the city. added a sixth show after selling your first five.

Visitors walk on a busy sidewalk in Bar Harbor, Maine, last month when Gov. Janet Mills removed most of the outdoor distancing requirements imposed during the pandemic.
Visitors walk on a busy sidewalk in Bar Harbor, Maine, last month when Gov. Janet Mills removed most of the outdoor distancing requirements imposed during the pandemic. Photograph: Robert F Bukaty / AP

Away from the big cities, Busch Gardens amusement park in Williamsburg, Virginia, saying had sold more tickets than in the same period in 2019, despite some restrictions from Covid. Tourists are also going back to the coast of maineaccording to locals, though they face high prices for the famous New England lobster roll, due to growing demand.

Hotels have seen a boom in reservations as people begin to venture into events, and so do home reservations through sites like AirBnB and Vrbo, which reported their best start to the year. According to Vrbo, guests book longer stays than usual, reducing the number of vacant properties and leaving some disappointed – a situation that people who book rental cars are also likely to face.

The demand for vehicles has led to the rental price increasing by 30% compared to 2019, CBS News reported, with rates in popular vacation destinations like Hawaii and Florida up to 50%. The price hike has been accompanied by an increase in airfares as Americans seek vacations away from home, which could dampen Americans’ hopes for a summer of recovery.

America’s post-pandemic boom is not without other problems. Many companies find it difficult to recruit staff. Restaurants and bars, in particular, are scrambling to hire people as summer reaches its peak, and radio spots from companies asking for people to apply for jobs have become a common sound – and strange to those who they lived through the recession that followed. the 2008 crash.

Some companies have taken even more drastic measures. Last month Uber Announced would pay a $ 1,000 “sign-up bonus” for new drivers, with big cities scrambling to meet the new demand for taxis home after days or nights in the city.

Uber is not alone. Amazon, which has come under fire for its work environment during the pandemic, offers a $ 1,000 bonus to new hires in some states as it aims to hire 75,000 new workers, while a McDonald’s in Tampa, Florida offers people $ 50 just to appear in an interview, a ruse that proved largely unsuccessful.

“There are a lot of people with a lot of money and they are buying,” Blake Casper, the disappointed owner of the McDonald’s franchise, told Business Insider.

“And then on the other hand, we are fighting for help.”

It is not just large companies that are struggling to attract workers. The Found the US Chamber of Commerce. that in March, the most recent month for which data was available, there were 8.1 million job openings in the US, a record.

People sit at tables in a nearly full restaurant in New York's Brooklyn borough.
People sit at tables in a nearly full restaurant in New York’s Brooklyn borough. Photograph: Justin Lane / EPA

According to the chamber’s survey of local business organizations, the “lack of available workers” is seen as the main thing holding back the economy. More than 83% of companies said it was more difficult to find workers than five years ago.

The leisure and tourism industry, which is expected to be the main draw for fun-seeking and money-handling Americans this summer, has been hit the hardest, potentially hampering America’s attempt to recover.

“Across the country there are examples of restaurants that are no longer offering lunch service, or closing one or two days a week that would normally be open because they are understaffed,” said Neal Bradley, policy director. at the chamber of commerce.

Bradley said there was “no one cause” for the lack of workers. Factors include temporary visas on which some migrant workers – and by extension businesses – depend on being blocked by the pandemic, the struggle some people have faced to find childcare, and higher levels of government employment benefits, which which means that people are less desperate to find work.

And the threat of a Covid resurgence remains. This week, Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, told The Guardian that it was dangerous to “declare victory prematurely” as more than a third of eligible Americans have yet to receive a single dose.

Joe Biden has Set a goal that 70% of adults had been shot at least before Independence Day, July 4, a holiday known for fireworks, barbecues, the occasional fuss and big gatherings. Whether or not that goal is achieved, it seems certain that people are preparing to celebrate summer to the fullest.


www.theguardian.com

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