COVID-19 Traveler FAQ – Destination Salem

We miss you!  Salem is not the same without visitors from near and far. As Massachusetts goes through the phases of reopening, we have compiled some answers to frequently asked questions that have been inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Travel Advisories

Are there any travel restrictions for visiting Salem?

It depends on where you are visiting from. Most out of state visitors need to fill out a traveler form and indicate whether they are going to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Massachusetts or produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel. The fine for noncompliance is $500 per day. Visit mass.gov/matraveler for the form and complete information. The order is in place until further notice.

As of January 8, 2021, the only state exempt from the order is HI. Please note, that exemptions may change as data changes. We recommend checking mass.gov/matraveler frequently leading up to your trip.

What if I am visiting for the day from Rhode Island?

Visitors from Rhode Island are not currently exempt from the travel order, so they must fill out the traveler form and either quarantine in Massachusetts or provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel. There are exemptions for coming into Massachusetts from Rhode Island, but only for grocery shopping, pharmacy visits, medical appointments, visiting persons in hospitals/care facilities, and religious services. RI residents are permitted to attend wedding ceremonies in MA under the religious services exemption, but they should not attend receptions without adhering to the travel order.

Who will check on my traveler form?

Accommodations in MA have been instructed to direct their guests to the form at the time of booking and at check-in. Additionally, MA businesses may ask to review your form or for proof of your negative COVID-19 test if you are visiting from out of state. The fine for noncompliance is $500 per day, and if you are unable to comply with the travel order we ask that you plan your visit for another time.

For additional FAQs on the state’s travel order, visit mass.gov/matraveler.

Do I need to wear a mask?

Yes. Everyone in Massachusetts is required to wear a mask while in public, regardless of distancing, both indoors and outdoors. Find more information on Salem’s mask requirement at salem.com/masks and note that fines for noncompliance are $50 for the first offense, $150 for the second, and $300 for the third.

What if I have a medical condition that prevents me from wearing a mask?

According to the state’s mask mandate, face coverings should not be worn by children under 2 and anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, has trouble breathing, or is otherwise unable to remove masks on their own. Those with medical conditions that may place them at a higher risk for COVID-19 are encouraged to continue to stay home for their safety. Businesses may provide alternatives for guests who cannot wear masks (like curbside pickup for instance) but they reserve the right to refuse entry to customers who are not wearing masks. As any of these orders change we’ll also be posting updates on salem.org/covid19.

Are businesses open?

Massachusetts is in the process of reopening in four phases. Please note that this timeline may be updated by statewide or local public health advisories, and all openings are at the discretion of the business. Find more information on the phased reopening of Massachusetts here.

  • Most businesses in Salem are currently able to open with restrictions (primarily 25% capacity restrictions). Additional restrictions will be lifted as part of Phase 4, which will not begin until there is widespread vaccination.
  • Some businesses have chosen to close for the winter, limit hours, require advance reservations, or shifted to curbside pick-up or take-out.
  • Masks are required at all businesses in Salem, including while dining out whenever you are not eating or drinking.
  • We recommend making advanced reservations wherever you are able to while capacities are limited.
  • Please contact individual businesses or visit their websites to confirm hours and availability ahead of your visit.
  • Currently there is a statewide curfew requiring non-essential businesses to close at 9:30 pm.
Will it be safe to visit?

The City of Salem and its business community are working hard to ensure the safety of visitors and employees.  Please help keep Salem safe by following CDC guidelines and staying home if you are not feeling well, wearing a mask, and washing your hands frequently. Learn more about Salem’s commitment to health and safety and take the Salem Together Pledge here.

Is there indoor dining?

Some restaurants in Salem are open for indoor and outdoor dining (weather permitting). We recommend checking with individual restaurants for specifics. Masks are required at all times in restaurants (including when dining outdoors) whenever you are not seated at your table.

Are bars open?

No, bars in Massachusetts are not open at this time. Under the current reopening guidelines, alcoholic beverages may only be ordered while seated at a table after food is ordered.

Are retail shops open?

Some retailers are open for in-store shopping and browsing, and others are available for online shopping or curbside pickup. Visit Salem.org/shop for a full list of stores.

Where can I find information on getting married or eloping in Salem?

Information on getting married in Salem is available on salem.org/weddings.  For 2020, The Hotel Salem, The House of the Seven Gables, and Ledger offered small wedding packages that adhered to restrictions on gathering sizes. We will provide updates on 2021 gathering restrictions when they are available.

What do I need to know about bringing a group to Salem this year?

Each tour operator using a bus or other vehicle (such as a trolley, harbor cruise vessel, or duck boat) must limit occupancy at all times to 50% of the tour, vehicle or vessel’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the relevant municipal record holder.

Occupancy limitations for boat tours using vessels with open deck space that can be used to accommodate passengers shall be determined in accordance with the formula used to set charter boat occupancy limits, outlined in the Workplace Safety and Reopening Standards for For-Hire and Charter Vessels.

  • Tours of spaces for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record must limit occupancy based on the Indoor and Outdoor Event guidance on the Reopening Website
  • All occupant counts and calculations shall include customers and workers
  • Groups of passengers should be separated on the vehicle by empty seats. If that is not possible, vehicles should stagger open rows
  • Tour operators must limit group size in walking tours to groups of no more than 10 persons
  • Guides and guests should maintain 6 feet of distance and wear face coverings

Find more information on group tours under Massachusetts’ phased reopening guidelines here.

Thank you for wanting to visit Salem. Join us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for regular updates.

We can’t wait to see you soon!