Mother Nature hasn’t been kind to mid-size businesses this year, and this Fourth of July is no exception. As Hurricane Arthur heads up the East Coast, predictions of a wet and windy weekend are cancelling beachfront celebrations and threatening to wash out holiday business.
For the first time since 1992, the Boston Pops’ legendary fireworks spectacular was rescheduled for July 3, and from New England to North Carolina, many other city celebrations are following suit.
For East Coast companies counting on a boom in business this Fourth of July, Hurricane Arthur brings a double whammy. Harsh winter storms have already taken a heavy toll on businesses this year, including the hospitality industry. Some 46 percent of U.S. adults canceled or rescheduled entertainment in the first three months of 2014, which hurt movies, sporting events, concerts and shows, reports global transaction firm NCR. Another 43 percent of Americans said bad weather impacted their dining plans during that time.
In a separate study from Technomic’s consumer survey, over 82 percent of consumers in the Northeast and 76 percent in the mid-Atlantic said weather controlled their agenda this past winter.
But while staying inside on the Fourth may be bad for business, it’s good for saving lives. It turns out this holiday weekend is filled with dangers — not just to companies’ bottom lines, but also to consumers’ safety.
No one summed that up better than North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory: “This is no time to put your stupid hat on,” he told CNN. He warned beachgoers to stay out of the ocean, where storms can create deadly rip currents. “Stay out of the water … and make sure we don’t have to come rescue you and put our emergency workers in jeopardy,” he said.
It’s good advice for inland revelers to heed as well. Accidents with recreational fireworks killed at least eight people last year and injured over 11,000 more, reports the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Kids 15 years old incurred about 40 percent of the injuries, and more than half involved burns.
Of the injuries received last year, sparklers were involved in 31 percent, firecrackers were associated with 11 percent, Roman candles accounted for 6 percent, and bottle rockets were associated with 4 percent, reports the CPSC.
Meanwhile, alcohol-related emergency-room trips for teen boys doubled, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The magazine analyzed CPSC data to find the most common ways Americans get injured on the Fourth of July, including bicycling, swimming and playing basketball – all of which sent more people to the emergency room than fireworks last year.
Surprisingly, injuries from chain saws and barbeque grills were much further down the list. Looks like many Americans did indeed keep their stupid hats off last year. Let’s hope this holiday weekend that they do the same.