SALISBURY — The world may be in the midst of a pandemic but regional tourism and travel representatives predict the roads will still be packed over the Fourth of July weekend.
Ann Marie Casey, executive director of the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, said a recent survey shows that most people will be traveling closer to home this summer and are looking for accommodations that meet COVID-19 safety guidelines.
"There's no municipal fireworks and there are no events going on, so it is going to be very different from previous years because of the organized events that have been canceled," Casey said. "It will also be very different with the amount of people who are traveling. So I guess it will be a time for family and reflection and backyard barbecues. But these traditions can't be gone forever, they are too important."
Although airline and railway travel may be down this summer, traffic on the roads is not that far off from last year, according to John Paul, AAA Northeast's senior manager of traffic safety.
"Automobile travel is really only down about 3.3% year over year," he said. "Typically, in the New England area, we might see 1 million people traveling over the Fourth of July holiday. That looks like it could be off 3% or 4%."
There should be plenty of clouds and scattered showers Friday with temperatures hovering in the high 60s to low 70s, according to the National Weather Service. Saturday will remain relatively cool for the Fourth of July with cloud cover.
The Weather Service expects the weather to improve Sunday with temperatures reaching the high 70s and more sun than clouds.
Casey noted, "I'm not sure if it's going to be a regular Fourth of July or not. Not all of the traditional tourism businesses are open and up and running, but it might not be all that different."
Paul, at AAA, said he had spoken to chamber of commerce officials on Cape Cod who said hotel bookings look to remain close to last year's numbers.
"Some of their hotels are open and their bookings look OK," Paul said. "I know someone who has an Airbnb cottage rental and she looks like she is booked through the end of August. And she isn't giving it away, either. This certainly is a pent-up demand for people who are traveling."
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.