The last two weekends of October in Salem typically draw widespread attention for its Halloween spirit, with tourists traveling hours to see the haunted happenings. But this year, officials have implemented new measures to hopefully reduce crowds in lieu of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new measures aimed at scaring away visitors include fewer commuter rail trains stopping in Salem and city parking lots shutting down early both this weekend and next.
City streets will also be closed to traffic with police standing by, and businesses are required to shut down earlier, too.
Even so, tourists like Jeanne Stewart and Michelle Spronk were not deterred.
“I’m fine. I’ve been to the apple orchard today. Around a lot of people, I don’t have any problems. I feel perfectly safe," Stewart said. "As long as I have my mask on, I feel good. And others keep their masks on.”
Spronk brought her three kids from New York and is happy she made the trip.
“It does seem safe. I think it’s great here," she said. "We saw all the signs that say ‘don’t come, it's shut down,' but it’s such a cute little town. I’m glad that we did come.”
Salem Halloween 2020
Even as the city tries to keep visitors out to avoid crowds and limit the spread of COVID-19, earlier Friday, there was a small racial justice protest in the city.
A small crowd gathered in a Church Street parking lot around 5:30 p.m. for the "Justice for Breonna Taylor and All Black Women" protest, with some holding Black Lives Matter flags and signs.