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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Labor Day weekend traffic might be a touch lighter this year, with hotel bookings down 65% compared to last year.

Why it matters: America's hotels are on life support as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, with hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue and some 2 million jobs at stake.

What’s happening: The pandemic-era travel drought has continued through major holiday weekends like Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day and, now, Labor Day.

  • As a result, the American hotel industry is projected to shrink by 45% in 2020, according to the market research firm Ibis World.
  • Just 16% of Americans plan to travel for Labor Day, 25% for Thanksgiving and 29% for Christmas, per a new report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association. 14% of hotel rooms are booked for this weekend, compared with 41% last year.
  • And even as states around the country begin to reopen, 4 in 10 hotel workers are still on furlough.

The other side: As hotels suffer, Airbnb is doing quite well, Axios' Felix Salmon writes.

  • Work-from-home has turned into work-from-anywhere for America's telecommuters, and vacationers prefer homes they can have to themselves over buildings they have to share with other people.

The bottom line: Travel is starting to creep back from lows earlier in the summer, but it'll be a long time before people feel comfortable checking into hotels again. And it'll be even longer before international tourists start filling up rooms.

Go deeper

COVID-19 vaccine will arrive to states by Monday

General Gustave Perna, chief operating officer for the Defense Department's Project Warp Speed. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, which was authorized for emergency use on Friday night, is expected to arrive throughout the U.S. by Monday to administer to health care workers, U.S. officials said Saturday.

Why it matters: The administration green-lighting shipments and distribution this weekend comes as the U.S. topped more than 3,000 deaths a day — more than 9/11 or D-Day.

Dec 12, 2020 - Health

Study: Boston conference linked to spread of over 333,000 COVID-19 cases

Photo: DOMINICK REUTER/AFP via Getty Images

The Biogen conference held in Boston in late February has been linked to more than 333,000 coronavirus cases, a new study in the journal Science says, calling the two-day function a "superspreader event."

Why it matters: The study estimates that the conference was behind 1.9% of all U.S. cases since the pandemic got underway, spreading to 29 states. It illustrates how a single-site event with attendees who traveled from afar can spur a national outbreak.