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Doctors Concerned Spring Break Could Hurt Massachusetts Reopening Plans

BOSTON (CBS) - Scenes from South Florida show spring breakers and others are getting away in high numbers from New England's long, cold pandemic winter.

"There were people from like UPenn, Penn State, Tulane, everywhere," said one Northeastern student, as he returned at Logan Airport.

A Suffolk senior showed cell phone video he took inside a South Beach nightclub. "Boston, I feel like they're very strict with the people they limit inside, but there, they don't really care," he said.

This, despite efforts by Miami Beach authorities to control crowds. Police have been directed to enforce a midnight curfew. "People are coming down here in numbers that we haven't seen in a long time," said Miami Beach Police Chief Rick Clements.

"When I see crowded bars and nightclubs, I am worried," said Tufts Medical Center Infectious Diseases Dr. Shira Doron. She says beaches are not her concern, because people are outside. But variant rates are higher in Florida. "We're so close to seeing the ability to have a much better life," said Doron. "We're ready to reopen, to move from phase to phase, and so any setbacks will be so much more disappointing."

According to TSA, passenger numbers are still sharply below pre-pandemic levels, but things are ramping up at airports across the country. Friday was the busiest travel day since the Sunday after New Year's. That had CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky pleading with travelers. "Cases climbed last spring. They climbed again in the summer. They will climb now if we stop taking precautions when we continue to get more and more people vaccinated," said Walensky.

But rates are cheap. "I paid $50.00 for a round-trip," said Lekaj. And temperatures outside are high, making it all so tempting.

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg says airlines are reporting strong spring break bookings and forecasting a bump in summer travel.

WBZ-TV's Anaridis Rodriguez reports

"Between now and the end of April they're seeing their bookings rise appreciably, nowhere near 2019 levels, but enough to get them confident that they're going to be selling a lot more seats," Greenberg said. "Interestingly enough, [people] are going everywhere they possibly can, as oppose to bucket list destinations, within the United States. The airfares are very, very, low. The airfare from New York to Los Angeles right now, one-way nonstop, is $92."

Greenberg says vacation rentals are also going fast with many destinations selling out. "Theme park destinations like Orlando are getting sold out. West coast destinations, wide-open space states, like Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, are getting sold out. People are not worrying about going out there anymore because the fares are so cheap. And they think that if they're vaccinated, they're somehow liberated. Now, we're still going to have to wear masks and practice social distancing. But the bottom line as more and more people are getting vaccinated, they're leaving."

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