Mayor urges visitors to avoid Salem this Halloween


FILE – In this Dec. 26, 2003, file photo, the logo for the Salem Police Department, which bears an image of a witch, is displayed on a police cruiser’s door in Salem, Mass. The city’s mayor said on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, that President Donald Trump needs to “learn some history” after Trump claimed those accused in the city’s infamous 17th century witch trials received more due process than he has received in the House’s impeachment inquiry. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File)

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — Anyone planning a trip to Salem this month to celebrate Halloween needs to cancel their plans, the mayor of the Massachusetts city famous for its 1692 witch trials said Friday.

Even though the city has canceled a monthlong series of publicly sponsored events held each October that typically draw tens of thousands of visitors, many people are still flooding the city streets, increasing the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

“If you’re not in Salem yet and are thinking about coming, my advice to you is skip it,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said. “Skip it until after October.”

Businesses and tourist attractions have been limiting capacity and people are gathering in the streets.

“We still can’t allow the sorts of crowds that are gathering here to continue,” Driscoll said.

The city is putting several crowd control measures into place this weekend, including restricting access to a major pedestrian mall, and setting up additional barricades to limit entry lines.

Salem is currently considered in the moderate risk category for coronavirus spread, and Driscoll doesn’t want to see the city move to the high risk category.

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