SALEM, MASS. (WHDH) - It’s officially October and under normal circumstances that would mean a major celebration in Salem. But, because of the pandemic, the city’s mayor says things are better off safe than spooky.

On the first Thursday in October, the city of Salem would be gearing up for the Haunted Happenings parade but this moth, Halloween festivities in the historic city will take on a different kind of scary.

“Plan your itinerary out, know what you are going to do. If you have not done all of those things, like just a spontaneous trip into Salem, which is normally great in October, this may not be the year for that for sure,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said.

She is taking steps to ensure people are celebrating Halloween safely.

No street performers will be allowed, the mandatory mask zone has been expanded and hotels — which Driscoll said have already been busy on weekends– must maintain a visitor log.

Visitors from high-risk areas will have to fill out a local form and the mayor said public health officials will be following up with those individuals.

“Make sure that if they say they are going to quarantine they are quarantining or if they had a COVID test, certainly get a copy of that,” she explained. “We want to make sure we have some accountability around visitors who are coming here.”

The city is also working with law enforcement to monitor crowds and prevent large groups from gathering on busy sports like Essex Street.

While Salem is one of the cities that has been given the green light to move onto the next phase of the state’s reopening process, Driscoll said those changes will be delayed until after Halloween.

“We do not want to have an uptick in COVID in our community. We do not want a spike,” she said.

Driscoll said officials will be keeping track of the crowds and positing their size on the city’s website so visitors can see how many people are there at any given time.

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