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Salem officials institute measures to keep Halloween crowds at bay

WCVB Boston logo WCVB Boston 11/1/2020
Salem Halloween 2020 © Provided by WCVB Boston Salem Halloween 2020

There is no sugarcoating that this year's Halloween celebrations in Salem will look a lot different due to the coronavirus pandemic.

City officials are hoping that a large number of people will not show up to celebrate Saturday night, and they have instituted a number of measures in order to help contain crowd size.

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Businesses in Salem were ordered to shut down by 8 p.m., while all city parking garages and lots closed at noon. Public transportation was also reduced for the weekend.

There will also be a visible police presence to help keep an eye on crowd size in the city. They will also be utilizing surveillance cameras in an effort to reduce large gatherings.

Last Saturday, Mayor Kim Driscoll says one of the entry points to the pedestrian mall on Essex Street had to be closed off for most of the day because of large crowds.

"For us, the biggest safety challenge has just been the congestion," Driscoll said. "This is Halloween on a Saturday. We're expecting people to be here and we just want to make sure it's a manageable number, and are really asking people to heed these regulations."

Trick-or-treating will be allowed in Salem, as well as Boston. Driscoll and other city leaders are urging people to only do it with members of their own family, and to avoid direct contact with people handing out candy.

Other communities in Massachusetts, meanwhile, are prohibiting door-to-door trick-or-treating this year due to COVID-19 concerns. That list includes Worcester, Lowell and Lawrence.

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