May 25, 2020 - Economy

The wreckage of summer

Illustration of a boarded up sandcastle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

For starters, Memorial Day ceremonies throughout the country are being cancelled. That includes the 2020 National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. — which is being replaced by a pre-recorded TV special on the major networks.

  • Lots of Memorial Day sporting events won’t be happening, either. Axios’ Jeff Tracy notes that people will miss the fun of running around all day in the yard and then watching the NBA conference championships at night — or the Indy 500 (which has been moved to late August).

And that’s just the beginning:

  • Vacations and travel are likely to be way down — at least for a while. The tourism industry is already taking a big hit, tour companies are cancelling guided tours around the world, and AAA says it isn’t even making a travel forecast for this Memorial Day given all of the uncertainty.
  • Summer camps are shutting down, unable to make social distancing work. The closures are threatening their survival and depriving kids of the summer adventures they look forward to all year — and leaving stressed-out parents without a break.
  • Think you’re going to get a break from online schooling for your kids? Good luck with that. Some school districts, out of genuine concern for students who are struggling with online education, have announced that anyone who doesn’t get a passing grade this spring will get an “incomplete” — but that means they may have to do makeup work over the summer.
  • Neighborhood pools aren't opening, since public pools aren’t safe.
  • Movie theaters may or may not reopen, as they struggle with the decision of whether it’s financially viable to do so during the slow lifting of lockdown orders, per Axios’ Sara Fischer.
  • July 4th celebrations have been canceled in some major cities. While fireworks shows may still happen in some places, watching them with friends on lawns, beaches and rooftops will likely be discouraged.
  • August is usually a prime season for weddings — and most of those will likely be on hold or celebrated virtually.

It could get even worse — because this summer's conditions are the perfect recipe for a crime wave, as Axios managing editor Jennifer Kingson notes.

  • Take hot temperatures, add a lot of restless people who have lost their jobs, and then factor in police officers who need to observe social distancing guidelines whenever possible.
  • The New York Post reports: "Coronavirus crime worries are making New Yorkers want guns."

There are a few bright spots. Remember drive-in movie theaters? Maybe not, but they’re going through a bit of a revival — including a drive-in movie night Saturday at Cooper’s Beach in Southampton, N.Y., Bloomberg reports.

  • AAA reports that online travel bookings have been rising “modestly” since mid-April — a sign that Americans are getting a bit more confident about traveling, at least on road trips.
  • TravelPass, an online travel agency, is beginning to see an uptick in hotel reservations — but mostly for people staying within their own state, Axios' Joann Muller reports.
  • And for what it’s worth, gas prices are cheap when people are ready to travel. The national gas price average was $1.87 at the start of the Memorial Day work week, per AAA — the lowest prices since 2003.

The bottom line: Where are we on that vaccine?

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