The following is an update from the City of Salem. For additional updates throughout October and on the City’s response to COVID-19, visit salem.com:
Following the first weekend of October, taking into account current public health orders and advisories, and in order to continue to prioritize the health and safety of Salem residents, employees, and visitors, the City of Salem is issuing the following reminders and advisories.
The City has previously announced that it has:
- Postponed the shift to Phase III, Step 2 reopening;
- Limited table capacities to six despite state allowances for up to 10;
- Canceled all parades, balls, festivals, and large events;
- Suspended all marketing earlier this year;
- Prohibited street performers in the central downtown area;
- Canceled the usual outdoor retail merchants;
- Instituted a mandatory mask zone downtown and inside businesses;
- Published a crowd meter at www.salem.com/crowds to reflect downtown crowd levels on October weekends; and
- Required those staying overnight in Salem to complete the local traveler form at www.salem.com/traveler.
While these actions have been taken, visitors themselves and Salem businesses who continue to operate within the guidance and limitations allowed under Phase III, Step 1 can also help reduce the possibility of COVID-19 spreading in the community, among visitors, and among employees.
- If you are considering a visit to Salem this October and you do not have lodging booked or advance tickets or reservations, the City recommends that you postpone your visit until 2021. Most Haunted Happening events are canceled due to the pandemic and all venues are working with limited occupancy, which created long lines and crowding in places during the first weekend of October. In addition, several attractions sold out early in the day. Given the upcoming long holiday weekend and expected warm weather, it is important that travelers plan ahead and think twice about a visit to Salem this month if they do not already have lodging, reservations, and/or tickets in place.
- Visitors who are still planning to come to Salem this October are required to abide by the mandatory mask requirement while downtown, as well as within stores, attractions, and while moving around within restaurants. City health inspectors, public safety teams, and downtown ambassadors are working together to track, enforce, and remind visitors of the mask order, which is an important measure intended to prevent the spread of the virus.
- The Salem Board of Health has 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 the form which can be found at www.salem.com/traveler. City health inspectors will be following up with visitors directly via phone and email regarding compliance with state travel restrictions.
- Most neighborhoods in and around the downtown are restricted to resident-only parking. Plan to park your vehicle in a municipal garage, lot, or other public parking facility. Cars parked in resident only zones that do not have a resident sticker or hangtag will be ticketed and/or towed. Tickets were issued to more than 115 vehicles this past weekend for parking in resident only zones.
- Downtown business owners – especially restaurants, retailers, and museums and attractions – are asked to institute a reservation or timed ticket protocol immediately, if they have not yet done so. This step will eliminate long lines outside of businesses, help comply with gathering orders, and improve the customer experience for patrons.
- Current gathering orders and rules limit the length of waiting lines in the public way. Lines longer than five parties, spaced six feet apart, are not permitted and will be dispersed by Health inspectors or police. Violations of gathering orders, including allowing long lines, may lead to citations of up to $300 per incident.
- Free COVID-19 testing will be offered downtown at Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, weekdays October 8th through October 30th. Testing will take place Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. While these tests will be available for anyone, those who work in frontline jobs are strongly encouraged to avail themselves of this free testing opportunity. No proof of insurance or citizenship is necessary for this testing and you do not need to be symptomatic to receive this testing. This testing is in addition to the existing free Stop the Spread testing taking place at Salem High School six days a week.
- Finally, as always, visitors are reminded not to travel if they are feeling ill or if they have been exposed to somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Mayor Kim Driscoll commented, “Ordinarily, there is no better place to celebrate Haunted Happenings and Halloween than in Salem. While we normally welcome visitors from around the globe to our city each Fall, this is not a normal October. We want to support our many businesses, but our first priority is keeping residents, employees, and visitors healthy and safe. Visitors can do their part by planning ahead and following all COVID-19 protocols and health orders. If you have not secured lodging or booked tickets in advance for your stay, you may want to consider saving your visit till 2021, when we hope to be recovered from this pandemic and able to enjoy our full array of unique activities and events.”