Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of the summer travel season, and a number of local Chamber of Commerce heads say they’re looking forward to a reasonably strong Labor Day weekend and an active fall—especially with a sunny Labor Day weekend weather forecast.
Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, says while fall business group sales are a “big loss,” Cape reservations are “showing a strong first two weeks of September with leisure travel,” including robust weekend bookings after mid-September. Adds Ms. Northcross, “I believe the schedule many schools have adopted will spur some travel that might not have occurred otherwise.”
In western Massachusetts, Jonathan Butler, CEO of 1Berkshire, says “We’re always optimistic that the fall season will yield some continued activity due to the foliage. Restaurants in some cases are doing very well, having pivoted to outdoor seating…the weather will be key to this continued momentum.” And Roy Nascimento, President/CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber, reports “strong interest in campgrounds and outdoor activities. Attractions are implementing new offerings like ‘open air’ packages that…allow visitors the pre-pay option, adding picnic areas, tents, outside seating and other things that all visitors to stay socially distant while still enjoying the experience.”
A small, informal social media AAA Northeast member survey reveals that, not surprisingly, most of those on the move will head by car to a destination close to home. Exactly half of those queried plan to take a trip for Labor Day weekend, with 90 percent of them getting behind the wheel. 55% of respondents say they plan to stay in state, and most expect to travel 100 miles or less. More than 40% of those surveyed list the beach as their top travel pick–with Cape Cod the favored spot–followed by visits to family and friends, mountain destinations, and camping. “Seventy percent told us they would not stay in a hotel, perhaps indicating that day trips will be popular as travelers limit exposure to unfamiliar destinations while seeking a change of scenery,” says Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. To find out more about state orders and travel restrictions related to COVID-19, visit our www.AAA.com/COVIDMap and www.AAA.com/SmartDepart web sites.
With virtually all of us focused on “staying safe,” don’t forget to also practice safe behavior behind the wheel this Labor Day weekend. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research shows that crashes increase on busy holiday weekends. Last year, Labor Day weekend logged 1286 crashes in MA, with a motorist injured every 16 minutes. AAA urges all motorists to buckle up, and to not drive drunk, drugged drowsy or distracted.
Finally, despite the fact that we’ve seen a return of traffic in the Bay State, road users may find they have less company as they head out for a Labor Day trip. As of mid-August, MassDOT statistics show Cape traffic is down 5-15% over last year, Berkshires traffic is 15-30% reduced, and Boston traffic has dropped by 30-50%. Says Ms. Maguire: “Safe travels! With more speeding citations issued to drivers traveling 100 m.p.h. or faster in Massachusetts in recent months, slow down and buckle up—every trip, every time!”