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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are itching to put pandemic life behind them, but many of the necessary ingredients for a summer of carefree fun — everything from neighborhood pools to car rentals — still aren't fully available.

The big picture: Labor shortages, scrambled supply chains and simple logistics are all making it harder for a whole range of businesses to meet post-pandemic demand, and that’s making “hot vax summer” a little harder to pull off.

Where it stands: A little vacation after a year stuck at home seems like a simple enough indulgence, but the travel industry is still facing some significant hurdles.

  • Airlines: "It's not like pilots can just flip a switch. And they throw the keys at us and we come back to work, right?" Air Lines Pilot Association President Joe DePete said on the Axios Re:Cap podcast. "There's a lot involved in that. There are security aspects, there are training aspects, there are medical aspects."
  • Rental cars: Rental companies sold off most of their fleets during the pandemic due to a lack of demand. And now a global chip shortage is squeezing the supply of new cars, making it hard for rental agencies to restock as demand increases.
  • Not to mention, everything’s already booked: Hotels, campsites and Airbnb rentals are all hard to come by, especially in the most popular destinations.

Even staycations are subject to some of the same challenges.

  • Live entertainment: Many smaller venues didn't survive the pandemic, and mounting a stage production or a tour for a band is hard work. "Our industry can't just reopen on a week or two weeks notice, we need three to six months," said Dayna Frank, CEO of the historic First Avenue venue in Minneapolis on the Axios Re:Cap podcast last week.
  • Restaurants say they’re having a hard time filling open jobs, although the hospitality sector added more jobs than any other part of the economy last month — 292,000, about two-thirds of which were in "food and drinking places."
  • Pools in many parts of the country are having a hard time hiring lifeguards, and are either limiting their hours or keeping some locations closed as a result.

Yes, but: Post-pandemic job turnover also has many higher-stakes implications, including for child care and health care.

  • "Nurses and dental hygienists, they don't necessarily stay in the industry all that long ... I think we will also have some supply constraints potentially in that industry," said Martin Baily, an economist at the Brookings Institution.

The bottom line: "With people switching occupations, jobs being in different geographic places, and people needing to learn to work with technology in new ways — all of this is going to create a lot of churn and disruption in the near-term, meaning the next year or two or three," said Susan Lund, a leading partner for the McKinsey Global Institute.

Go deeper

Wall Street gets a hard seltzer buzzkill

Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images

Boston Beer sent another signal the hard seltzer fad is fading — and told Wall Street that it will make less money because of it.

Why it matters: It’s a reversal of a mega-booze trend that a slew of companies raced to get in on.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 7 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

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