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Experts Urge Caution As Mass. Businesses Welcome More Customers

BOSTON (CBS) - Remember when you could listen to live music while dining? With that now allowed again, some Irish pubs are making plans for St. Patrick's Day. But experts say it's critical for businesses to proceed with caution.

"We feel like a huge weight has started to be lifted," said John Stournaras, owner of Morse Tavern in Natick. To go with the beer and food, he plans to bring in Irish music by the same singer who was at the pub the night before the pandemic nearly shut it down last year. "It just happens that the timing, don't get me wrong, it was a long year, but it just fits perfectly," he said.

The timing is exactly what has some experts concerned. While capacity limits on Massachusetts restaurants are lifted as of March 1, restrictions are also now eased to 50% at places including libraries, churches, stores, and gyms.

"When we talk about what we're moving towards in Massachusetts, it does sound pretty aggressive," said Tufts Medical Center Infectious Diseases Physician Dr. Shira Doron. "I think we don't know what we can expect to see as a result of that kind of reopening."

She's not alone. This weekend, Medical Advisor to the President, Dr. Anthony, put out a warning. "Just watch over the next several days to a week. If we do this, and start coming up, then we're going to go right back to the road of rebounding," he said.

Governor Charlie Baker said if case counts change, so will his policies. "This is a constant balancing act. And I think for us, at this point in time based on the data, it made sense to make some adjustments with respect to reopening. But obviously we'll continue to look at the data as we go forward," he said.

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