Mayor again asks Halloween revelers to postpone trip to Salem this October

SALEM, MASS. (WHDH) - Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll on Friday again asked Halloween revelers to postpone their visit to the Bay State’s haunted hotspot this October due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

“Our message to those planning a trip to Salem this October at this point is to postpone your visit,” Driscoll said during a news conference. “Due to capacity restrictions, most businesses have changed to advance ticketing or, for restaurants, reservations are required.”

Beginning on Saturday, there will be additional restrictions in downtown Salem, especially focused on the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall, Driscoll added.

The latest round of restrictions include:

  • Access will be restricted from the Peabody Essex Museum side of the mall as pedestrian volumes may require.
  • All tents on the mall will be prohibited and additional barricades will be set up to limit entry lines.
  • Downtown businesses that have not yet implemented reservation systems have been advised to implement one before this weekend. If cost is an impediment to using such a system, businesses can contact the City for assistance.

Most Halloween events have already been canceled due to the pandemic.

Earlier this month, Driscoll said, “We want to support our many businesses, but our first priority is keeping residents, employees, and visitors healthy and safe.”

On Friday, Driscoll noted that the region’s economy is in for a “significant hit.”

“Before COVID, we were expecting to have a banner year and a banner day on Halloween,” Driscoll explained. “None of that can happen. There are no bands, there are no DJs, there are no fireworks, and there is no typical array of activities that you would see on Halloween.”

Those who are still planning to come to Salem are required to abide by the mandatory mask requirement while downtown, as well as within stores, attractions, and while moving around within restaurants.

In addition to police issuing citations, Driscoll said downtown ambassadors are being deployed to enforce the city’s mask mandate.

The Salem Board of Health has also issued a local travel reporting requirement for visitors traveling from out of state. Anyone staying overnight at a hotel, inn or short-term rental must complete a form that documents their activity in the city.

“Salem will be here after October,” Driscoll added. “We still can’t allow the sorts of crowds that are gathering here to continue.”

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