Revelers flock to Salem amid heightened COVID-19 restrictions

SALEM, MASS. (WHDH) - Despite repeated calls from Gov. Charlie Baker and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll to stay away from the Witch City this holiday season, hundreds of revelers flocked to the Halloween hotspot on Saturday.

Though far fewer people than usual, there were still crowded streets and sidewalks as area residents made their way to Salem to enjoy the festivities the weekend before Halloween. Signs reminding those who turned out about increased coronavirus restrictions were visible across the city.

“Even with the masks and everything, it has still been a great time,” said one woman who turned out dressed in a Halloween costume.

Kim Hart said she expected to see the crowds but was glad to see people adhering to the rules.

Driscoll announced Wednesday that the city was reducing MBTA commuter rail service, enforcing a number of new parking restrictions, and closing businesses early in an effort to keep Halloween revelers away.

Trains outbound from Boston will not stop at Salem station on Oct. 23 and Oct. 30 between 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. or Oct. 24, Oct. 25, and Oct. 31 between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

All city parking garages and lots will also close to entering traffic at 2 p.m. on Oct. 23 and at 12 p.m. on Oct. 24, Oct. 25, Oct. 30, Oct. 31, and Nov. 1. Salem residents with reserved parking spaces or who live downtown and any downtown business employee with proof of employment may enter and park in the garages at any time.

The MBTA garage will have restricted access for local parking and all privately operated parking lots have been ordered to close as well.

Illegally parked vehicles in residential parking areas will be ticketed and towed.

All downtown businesses have been asked to utilize reservations and to close or limit activity by 8 p.m. on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 to help mitigate crowds. The city has also ordered mandatory 8 p.m. closures of all downtown businesses on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31.

The Salem Police Department plans to implement a traffic control plan in approximately 15 locations throughout the city to assist non-residents in exiting the area.

Fines for noise violations, resident parking violations, and public intoxication will be tripled through the end of October.

All haunted happening events have already been canceled and all venues are working with limited occupancy.

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