In 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill declaring the first Monday in September an official holiday honoring the working people of the United States. Since that time, however, the holiday has taken on a new meaning.
To many people, Labor Day is not a day of rest, but is one of the most hectic days of the year. Thousands of Utahns flock to campgrounds, malls, recreation sites and local entertainment facilities over the three-day holiday weekend."We expect heavy traffic over the holiday," said Shirley Iverson from the Department of Transportation.
Iverson said Labor Day is one of the most hectic weekends, in terms of traffic congestion, of the year.
"Traffic should increase, overall, by about 30 percent. On Monday, we expect 20,000 more people traveling home on the major interstate highways," Iverson said.
As always, increased traffic means increased traffic accidents. "We encourage people to take advantage of the rest stops and remind them of the speed limits. They are 55 mph on the freeways and 65 mph in rural areas."
Tish Poulson, information technician for Utah State Parks and Recreation, said the number of Utahns visiting popular campsites will double over the holiday weekend. "The Wasatch Mountains, Bear Lake and Deer Creek are all popular locations. On holidays, all of the sites fill up," she said.
Utahns are encouraged to use caution when starting fires at these campsites and abide by fire codes, especially in light of
he recent surge of Utah forest fires.
In addition, hundreds of Utahns will flock to the local malls for last-shopping-day-of-the-summer sales. "Labor Day is our largest weekend. A lot of businesses have in their new fall merchandise and a lot of them have clearance sales. It's also a great time for our food businesses," said Debbie Reverman, marketing director for Crossroads Mall.
Entertainment sites such as Lagoon, Hogle Zoo and Raging Waters are also expecting large crowds. All three businesses will operate regular business hours during the holiday.
Police and fire departments will remain open over the holiday and garbage will also be collected as usual.
Some people will be living up to the true meaning of the holiday, however. No UTA buses will be operating that day and metered parking will not be enforced downtown.
In addition, schools, public libraries, government offices, banks and stock and commodity markets and liquor stores will be closed. Mail will not be delivered.
Utah Transit Authority buses will not be in operation Monday because of the Labor Day holiday.
UTA Spokesman Craig Rasmussen said the federal holiday gives bus drivers a needed day off.
Beginning Tuesday, the Trolley Square route that goes from the shopping center to the Salt Palace will change. Instead of running from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., the hours will be shortened to 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The change is due to reduced travel by tourists.