It's now been more than a year since the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the U.S. economy, no more so than the chunk of that business that goes to the hospitality industry so dependent on summer travel. For example, real estate investment trusts (REITs) with properties dependent on business and leisure travel -- hotels and restaurants are the obvious examples -- really got hammered, with earnings and stock prices plummeting and, in some cases, dividends suspended. A projected summer gas shortage could threaten struggling retailers and restaurants just as they were finally expecting good times by raising their costs of doing business and encouraging people to go out less.
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