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Salem, Massachusetts: Please Don't Come Here for Halloween This Year

Abandon hope, all ye who... actually it’s closed.

In spite of its tragic past, Salem, Massachusetts has long been the premier destination for spooky season revelers. But this year, “Witch City,” officials are asking that Halloweenies stay away on and around October 31, according to Boston NPR member station WBUR.

"This is not the year to come to Salem, this is not the year to visit ... all Halloween activities have been canceled this year, there'll be no music stages, no street performers, no beer gardens, no DJs and no fireworks, and, we hope, no crowds,” the station quoted Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll as saying. 

The stay-away order is due to COVID-19 and aimed to ensure that what Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker called Salem’s “exceptional mask compliance” remains so.

"Our family's been over here a few times in September and October during the day, on the weekends, and at night, and it's 90 percent-plus," Baker is quoted as saying. "And it's manageable with respect to the distancing that's possible on what I would call a traditionally busy day in downtown Salem. But a typical Halloween weekend in Salem is not manageable."

Salem has seen upwards of 50,000 tourists on those previous typical Halloweens. 

If government pleas and the blazing red banner reading “SALEM, MA IS CLOSED” on Salem.org are still too ambiguous, the site has plenty of reminders that, should you defy all reason and plan a trip, it will not be fun. Museums, restaurants, and shops are operating with occupancy restrictions, and many attractions are sold out. “The visitors who are coming to Salem—some from far away—without a plan in place are finding long lines, not enough to do, and overcrowding,” the site states. 

Businesses will also be closing early the weekend before and the weekend of Halloween, public transportation service will be reduced, indoor haunted houses are prohibited, and, crucially, fines for noise and parking violations, as well as that old Halloween staple, public intoxication, will be tripled from October 31-November 1. 

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