When it comes to Halloween, New Jersey is still "open for business" this year, Gov. Phil Murphy said at a pandemic response briefing on Monday.

The governor said that the state also celebrated Halloween last year, while adding that this year, one difference is there's a vaccine and that it works well.

Responding to a question about the secular holiday — which falls on a Sunday in 2021 — Murphy said indoor parties and gatherings present the biggest concern and that folks need to use their common sense.

Among late October traditions returning after a year away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Toms River Halloween Parade is set for Saturday, Oct. 30.

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The Toms River Fire Company No.1 hosts the annual event, which is the world's second-largest Halloween parade, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Murphy said the tragedy of 18 and 19 months ago was that "there was no playbook on how to handle the pandemic."

He said the tragedy today is there are folks not following proven guidance on virus prevention, namely vaccination, which is needlessly "adding to the strain."

As of Monday, the state reported 5.89 million individuals who live, work, or study in New Jersey have been fully vaccinated, with 1,111 new cases and 218 likely cases, based on test results.

The statewide rate of transmission was at 0.91.

There were 1,074 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, including 243 in ICUs with 135 ventilators in use.

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