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Corona Economics

Retailers: Floridians to stay close to home, spend on food for 4th of July

Barbecues yes. Fireworks not so much.

Americans are going to be a lot more cautious when it comes to the Fourth of July celebrations this year due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases, according to a National Retail Federation survey.

Plans to travel and attend parades are definitely down, according to the survey. But barbecues at home are still among the favorite ways to honor America’s independence.

About 56% of the 7,762 people surveyed between June 1-9 said they’ll attend a cookout or picnic on July 4. That’s only slightly down from last year when 61% of respondents said they’d go to a barbecue.

Community celebrations featuring fireworks are out of favor this year given social distancing considerations. Only 24% of those surveyed said they planned to watch a fireworks display, down from 40% a year ago.

Only 6% said they’d attend a parade and 9% said they’d travel — both down 3% — and 24% said they wouldn’t celebrate the Fourth of July at all, a 10% jump over a year ago.

Still, the high number of people staying at home means they’ll spend money at grocery stores and other outlets. The National Retail Federation survey estimated that means Fourth of July revelers will spend about $76.49 each on food for the holiday, up from last year’s figure of $73.33.

Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, said the strong indicators of local spending should bode well for merchants across the Sunshine State.

“Florida retailers are glad to have consumers shopping for food and other items this holiday weekend, and they’re making every effort to ensure consumers stay safe and well while shopping in-store,” Shalley said. “We encourage shoppers to follow CDC guidelines and local restrictions — wear a mask and keep distance from others — while loading up on patriotic gear. Or take advantage of curbside and delivery services, where available.”

Still, another 28% of those surveyed said they plan to spend money on additional “patriotic items,” the NRF said.

Written By

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at drewdixonwriting@gmail.com.

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