NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With the holidays quickly approaching, families are being warned to skip indoor gatherings and avoid travel to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued the advisory for the second straight year, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Monday.

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As pumpkins and other Halloween decorations go up around the neighborhood, families are also planning ahead for Thanksgiving and beyond.

“Super anxious. Actually, I’m already planning my holidays. I’m trying to think where I want to go, stay here or go back home,” said Lennys Carrillo of Union County.

“My family, we’re kind of close, very tight knit. So we’re OK. Everybody is vaccinated, so we are comfortable now hanging out at social gatherings as long as it’s not a big thing,” added Jessica Condrack of Roselle.

COVID VACCINE

Health experts are warning once again to keep it small.

“Chill out, everybody. Just relax and step back. We are not completely back to normal,” said Dr. Perry Halkitis of the Rutgers School of Public Health.

Halkitis said even as more people get vaccinated, the disease is not contained. So we must rely on strategies we’ve used before.

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“Which is limiting our gatherings, preferably to outdoor. If indoor, as few people as possible with open windows,” Halkitis said.

Gov. Phil Murphy said not to expect any draconian mandates when it comes to the holidays.

“It’s your family. You know your vaccination status and you are getting together around the table for Thanksgiving dinner. I think its out of bounds for us to say you gotta, whatever, wear a mask, don’t have the dinner,” Murphy said.

But the governor is warning to take precautions to avoid a winter spike due to more people hanging out indoors.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Halloween is on in Jersey.

“Ask everybody to be safe, smart, do the right thing,” Murphy said. “The key will be how people behave when they are inside. It won’t be going door to door trick treating, though everyone should be careful, as always. It will be the party in someone’s basement.”

Halkitis suggests keeping your trick or treat group small, and incorporating a mask into your child’s costume. He said he is most worried about kids under 12 who cannot get vaccinated yet. He is urging parents to get their 12 and older children vaccinated to protect our youngest.

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CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team