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Reopened Markets, Stores Packed With Shoppers Ready To Celebrate Holidays

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As the holidays get closer, there are plenty of events to attend, so it begs the question: How do we stay safe and enjoy ourselves?

If the Christkindlmarket is any indication, a lot of people want to be out shopping and celebrating the holidays at some of the festive markets. Not only was there a line of people heading into the market for much of the day, but also many of the indoor shops were packed too.

But along with the re-opened markets, both indoor and out come new questions and concerns around the Omicron variant and a spike in COVID cases. Illinois reported more than 11,000 cases Thursday, which is the most in a year.

"Of course it concerns me but it's not going to keep us down. We take precautions," said one shopper on Michigan Avenue.

Many health experts agree taking the proper precautions is key to navigating this holiday season safely.

"I think it's all about making things as safe as you possibly can," said Mary Anderson, the Infection Control Manager for Edward Hospital

She said outdoor events are safer than indoors, mask-wearing is effective, distance where you can, and get vaccinated.

"If people are comfortable going, I do think especially now that we have vaccines, we're in a much better place than we were last year at this time," she said.

Dr. Carl Lambert of Rush University Family Physicians agrees: Right now, we should be doing all of the things we know help mitigate the spread of the virus, especially when it comes to the unknowns of Omicron.

"We don't really know how effective the vaccines that we have are to that particular variant, which even bolsters the case to be really mindful of where you go," he said. "If you can do online shopping, that may be the safest thing you can do."

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