Spring has sprung, and the Massachusetts economy is stirring out of COVID-19 hibernation.

Economists have long predicted that vaccinations would jumpstart spending, and early signs are that people who are fully protected — nearly 1.5 million so far in Massachusetts — are eating out, going to salons and gyms, and returning to activities they otherwise avoided during the pandemic.

To be sure, the recovery has a long way to go, with businesses operating under COVID-19 capacity restrictions and downtowns still ghost towns because of the persistence of remote work. And much as the pandemic crash was felt most severely by lower-income workers, so too the rebound is highlighting inequities. Many hourly workers who lost their jobs are struggling to find work while large numbers of white-collar employees barely missed a beat as they worked remotely.

Meanwhile, variant strains and rising infection rates, especially among younger people who are not waiting for the vaccine to resume normal life, could deal us another setback. Watching nervously as Europe locks down once again, President Biden and Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, are pleading with states not to reopen too fast and to reinstate mask mandates.

A major threat to the fledging recovery is the hesitancy of many people to get vaccinated, according to Alicia Sasser Modestino, an associate professor of public policy, urban affairs, and economics at Northeastern University.

“We are going to hit a wall at some point where the progress on vaccines is going to stall out,” she said.


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