According to the report, the high demand for tents and canvas, which is a part of wider boom for equipment and supplies, is raising revenue for some manufacturers while at the same time, it is also increasing costs for restaurants and retailers.
According to research firm Edison Trends, in the month of April, customers at 40 retailers spent 47 per cent more on party tents and event canopies as compared to a year earlier.
The Journal report cited Delta Canopy Inc, which sells tents and canopies through retailers including e-commerce sites, as saying that sales are growing for the first time in five years.
“We usually do a lot of business at this time of year but it has probably tripled,” Amberly Slavens, assistant manager at the McKinney, Texas, company was quoted as saying.
It is not just restaurants and retailers which are ordering tents but even colleges are considering ordering tents for classrooms.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Amherst College in Massachusetts ordered 20 tents and Adirondack chairs, with plans to conduct some classes and activities outdoors.
According to Brady Castro, principal at PRO EM Party & Event Rentals in Phoenix, some restaurants in Arizona want to extend seating capacity with temporary enclosures that include air conditioning. Castro said a basic canopy’s cost per square foot is $1 to $2 while that for an enclosed tent with air conditioning is about $10 to $12.
The Journal cited Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly as saying that his district, which includes the city’s downtown, has 100,000 residents but hosts an additional 500,000 office workers and tourists each day during normal times.
He said he hopes outdoor seating will help draw some of them back to businesses in his district that he said to provide nearly a third of the city’s restaurant jobs, the outlet reported.
“If aldermen had it their way we’d close every street down to support the local businesses,” Reilly said, according to the Journal.
According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus cases in the US has risen to 1,909,077 while the death toll has surpassed 1 lakh.