COVID-19 Traveler FAQ – Destination Salem

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

Updated Quarantine & Travel Restrictions as of August 1, 2020:

Beginning on August 1 all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts must follow the new travel orders listed below. The Commonwealth has made great progress to slow the spread of COVID-19 and gradually re-open the economy, and all visitors have a responsibility to help us keep transmission levels as low as possible.

All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, who do not meet an exemption, are required to:

  • Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health.
  • Quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, visitors, and residents must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.

Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day. Please find more information below, including the list of lower-risk states, exemptions, business guidance and other details.

Travelers from COVID-19 lower-risk States are not required to fill out the Massachusetts Traveler Form and do not need to quarantine. States are included on the list based on meeting two criteria: average daily cases per 100K below 6 AND positive test rate below 5%, both measured as a 7-day rolling average.  These states currently include Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Hawaii.

Lodging operators are required to inform guests both at the time a reservation is made and at check-in of the Commonwealth’s current travel order and the guests’ obligation to quarantine for fourteen days after arrival or until they receive a negative COVID test result, unless they meet certain limited exceptions.  Lodging operators are encouraged to post signage on their websites and at check-in with information about requirements for out-of-state travelers.

All travelers are reminded to stay home if they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19.

Do you have a question we haven’t answered here?  Enter it here and we will either add it to the list or respond directly.

Will everything be open this summer?
While you can visit Salem, most downtown businesses have reopened with restrictions, including capacity limitations, social distancing, requirements for advanced reservations, and more. Please check with individual businesses to confirm what will be open during your visit.

Are there public restrooms?
Public restrooms are currently available at Salem Willows, Winter Island and the Salem Ferry landing. Please note that during this time restrooms are not available inside the Salem Regional Visitor Center however porta-potties are outside the Visitor Center for use 10 am-4:00 pm. Restrooms (single stall/family use) are also available on Derby Wharf, 9:00 am-3:00 pm.

Do I need to wear a mask?
Yes. Effective May 6, 2020, everyone in Massachusetts is required to wear a mask or face covering when in public spaces where physical distancing of at least 6’ is not possible and inside buildings. This includes walking, running, and cycling in areas where you will pass others. As of July 18, the City of Salem released an emergency order requiring masks/face coverings in downtown areas and city-owned parks while indoors and outdoors, and regardless of the ability to social distance. Find more information on the order from the City including a map of designated areas here.

What if I have a medical condition that prevents me from wearing a mask?
According to the governor’s order on face coverings, masks/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. Guidance from the state government recommends that those with medical conditions that may place them at a higher risk for COVID-19 continue to stay home for their safety. Businesses may also provide alternatives for guests who cannot wear masks to access their space (like curbside pickup for instance). As any of these orders change we’ll also be posting updates on salem.org/covid19.

When will businesses be open?
On May 18, Governor Baker issued a 4-phase reopening approach for the state of Massachusetts. Please note that this timeline may be updated by statewide or local public health advisories, all openings are at the discretion of the business, and each phase is expected to take at least three weeks. Find more information on the phased reopening of Massachusetts here.

  • Outdoor gardens and parks have been able to open since May 25.
  • Accommodations, restaurants (for outdoor dining), and retail have been able to open since June 8.
  • Restaurants with indoor dining and personal services have been able to open since June 22.
  • Museums, attractions, harbor tours, performance venues and amusement parks are part of Phase 3 openings, which began July 6.
  • Additional restrictions will be lifted as part of Phase 4, which will not begin until there is a vaccine.

Will it be safe to visit this summer?
Yes!  The City of Salem and its business community are working hard to secure personal protective equipment and make changes to their businesses that will 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.

Are restaurants offering take-out and curbside pick-up? Outdoor dining? Indoor dining?
Yes! Many restaurants are offering curbside pick-up and takeout. You can find the list here. Visit Salem.org/eat for a full list of restaurants and to see which locations are offering indoor or outdoor dining.

Are retail shops open?
Some retailers have begun reopening while others are available for online shopping or curbside pickup. Visit Salem.org/shop for a full list of stores.

I have reservations to visit this summer, will they be cancelled?
We hope not! If you are planning a visit in or after June, we recommend checking with the business directly on the status of your reservation.

What about October?  Will Salem Haunted Happenings happen?
We are waiting for guidelines from the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be released to be able to answer this question.  We are optimistic that Salem will have some programming and activities this October, but they will likely look different than they have in the past.  Event organizers will make decisions specific to their events based on CDC recommendations and we will post all information on hauntedhappenings.org as it is available.

Thank you for wanting to visit Salem. While we all wait for the time when it is safe to explore again, please visit our Virtual Salem page and enjoy some of our favorite places remotely, and join us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for regular updates.

We can’t wait to see you soon!