Fewer Labor Day barbecues expected this year, Bank of America says

Paulo Rodredo, left, and Ney Santos, right, of Philadelphia, at the grill Saturday afternoon. At the Blue Marsh Lake Dry Brooks Day Use Area in Bern Township for the 4th of July Saturday afternoon July 4, 2020. The facility was operating at 75% of capacity, as a precaution against large crowds during the coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreak. By 11:00 it was at the reduced capacity and a line formed leading to the gate, and out onto Palisades Drive, with cars being allowed in as other cars left. Blue Marsh Lake is an artificial lake managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Ben Hasty | MediaNews Group | Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is expected to take a toll on the number of Labor Day barbecues this year, according to a Bank of America study.

The bank surveyed 1,072 consumers about their plans for the holiday weekend and found that only 45% planned to attend or host a barbecue. In a typical year, about 56% of U.S. consumers celebrate with grilled hot dogs and cold beers, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. 

The survey results echo respondents’ plans for the Fourth of July weekend, when more consumers barbecued compared with the Memorial Day and Father’s Day holidays this year. A quarter of the survey respondents bought a grill in the last two months. 

Of the consumers planning to celebrate Labor Day, 35% are going to do so with crowds of 10 to 25 people, ticking up slightly from the number of respondents who planned to barbecue with a large group on the Fourth of July or Father’s Day.

“In our view, the decelerating trend in the number of new Covid-19 cases combined with permissible outdoor social distancing guidelines has led to more consumers congregating,” wrote a team of analysts led by Bryan Spillane.

Fewer barbecues than usual could impact demand for products from food companies like Kraft Heinz, Conagra Brands and Tyson Foods and beer brewers Constellation Brands and Molson Coors, although the pandemic has lifted their grocery store sales in recent months as consumers spend less money at restaurants and bars. 

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has cautioned that previous holidays have led to new surges in Covid-19 cases, and he wants the public to be cautious this weekend. 

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