Salem BOOting visitors out for Halloween
Commuter rail trains won’t stop in city; businesses to close early
SALEM MAYOR Kim Driscoll and Gov. Charlie Baker urged the public to stay away from the city until Halloween is over to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and announced a series of weekend measures to discourage visitors, including the shuttering of parking garages, 8 p.m. closings of restaurants and stores, and the shutdown of the municipality’s commuter rail stop.
“This is not the year to come to Salem,” said Driscoll who, even with the unprecedented crowd control measures, insisted “Salem will not be a ghost town on Halloween.”
Baker said in the past 50,000 to 60,000 people have shown up in Salem the weekend before Halloween and Halloween weekend. “The mall area is literally shoulder to shoulder,” he said.
Dr. David Roberts, the president of North Shore Medical Center, said only about 10 percent of residents have been infected with the virus and have some level of immunity. He said that means 90 percent of residents are susceptible to the virus.
Baker said his administration will also be issuing guidance in the next few days about Thanksgiving gatherings. He declined to go into detail, but said: “This might be a good year not to travel.”
On other topics:The Baker administration delayed until Thursday the release of its weekly report on COVID-19 rates in each city and town in Massachusetts as the data is tweaked to identify communities impacted by a cluster of cases in a local nursing home, college, or correctional facility. The administration said the color-coding of the community will not change and neither will its ability to reopen businesses in Phase 3 Step 2. But the community will be identified with an asterisk if the institution has more than 10 cases and results in more than 30 percent of the municipality’s cases over the last 14 days. Many communities had complained they were being unfairly tarnished by case clusters in institutions that are relatively self-contained.
Baker said the impact from the expiration of the eviction moratorium on Saturday won’t be felt for at least two weeks because the courts will focus first on some 10,000 to 11,000 cases that predate the pandemic and were put on hold because of it. “That’s where they are starting,” he said. (Baker’s comments reflected what CommonWealth reported on Monday.)