MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has unveiled new guidelines as COVID-19 spreads, and the season for fall and winter indoor gatherings approaches.

The new guidelines include:

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* Be outside if possible.
* Open windows and bring a fan if you must be indoors.
* Don’t to travel until vaccinated.
* Virtual celebrations are the safest.

At a garden center in Southdale Mall’s parking lot, Halloween seemed top of mind.

“No changes in plans. Just enjoying life as we go,” one shopper told WCCO.

Carrie Hefte told she would forgo individual plastic bags, and hand out candy like she used to this year. She also looks ahead to some air travel this fall.

“This year I think it’s more back to normal,” Hefte said.

WCCO asked CentraCare’s Dr. George Morris for his take on the new guidelines.

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“It’s really about how do we make people feel safe and more about how do we decrease our risk as we go about gathering together,” Dr. Morris said.

He also encourages people to get vaccinated ahead of the holidays, pointing to his own hospital system where the ICU has had to expand and care for some patients delayed.

Eighty-percent of CentraCare’s 77 COVID patients are unvaccinated.

“Plan to do it smaller. Plan to do it simpler. Plan to do it with a smaller group, in an area you can ventilate as much as possible,” Dr. Morris said.

A holiday season again changing some plans in hopes of avoiding an unwelcome guest.

“We recently put the kibosh on that again this year because of the variant,” another shopper told WCCO.

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Dr. Morris believes we can safely pass out candy this Halloween, but he does encourage you to wear a mask while doing so to protect the unvaccinated kids coming to your door.

Liz Collin