Salem Businesses Reject Mayoral Candidate's Claim That Mask Mandate Is Hurting Them

In a since-deleted Facebook post, Salem mayoral candidate Steve Dibble said the city's indoor mask mandate was hurting businesses, but this October, businesses are reporting record numbers

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People are required to wear masks in indoor public spaces in Salem, Massachusetts, and despite the claims of a mayoral candidate, business is booming.

October is spooky season in Salem, and the downtown area was packed with tourists Thursday.

"What we're finding is people appreciate the fact that when you have this many visitors in town, that we're taking precautions," Mayor Kim Driscoll said.

Driscoll's challenger in the Nov. 2 election, Steve Dibble, claimed in a since-deleted Facebook post that the city's mask mandate is "negatively hurting Salem businesses" and that "many Salem residents are leaving Salem to shop in nearby cities where they do NOT need a mask."

But Karen Davis, who owns Coons Card and Gift Shop, says her line was stretched all the way to CVS over the.

"It's the busiest I've seen it," she said. "2019 was my busiest year, I'm doing over double."

"We're seeing record numbers this October," said Kate Fox, the executive director of Destination Salem. "We have filled up our local parking garages mid-week every day this month, and I've never seen that happen. I've been here for 23 years."

The Salem Board of Health voted to enact an indoor mask mandate throughout this peak season. It's set to expire in mid-November.

Driscoll says the rate of new COVID-19 cases in the city is low right now.

"People shop wherever they shop, for a host of reasons, but an indoor mask mandate, in our minds, in a city that welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors during this particular busy month, is just smart," she said.

NBC10 Boston has reached out to Steve Dibble for comment, but has not heard back.

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