SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio)—Planning a trip to Salem for the Halloween season? You may need to get a COVID test, regardless of your vaccination status.
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll announced on her Facebook page Thursday that the Salem Board of Health will hold a special meeting this Friday to discuss requiring attendees of large-indoor events during the month of October to have a negative COVID test. Driscoll wrote that despite a relatively low positive case rate and hospitalizations in Salem, requiring tests is a good way to stay safe.
"Everything should be on the table when it comes to keeping Salem safe, open, and strong, and especially protecting our under-12 population of children who can’t yet be vaccinated," Driscoll said in her statement.
The city plans to offer free rapid COVID tests to the public through a testing center set up in downtown Salem on days leading up to and the day of any large indoor events. The mayor has been in talks with Curative, who ran the state's MassVax sites, to run this location.
Driscoll said the city is also prepared to help pay for the expenses for events to market this policy to event-goers and for creating at-the-door checks to verify the test status of any guest.
The mayor also said this policy is important as a way to help protect the employees that work at the events.
"We have front line employees working in our hotels and larger venues who may have children under 12 or immune compromised individuals they go home to in the evening and we want to provide another layer of protection against spread to them during the busy Haunted Happenings season," Driscoll said.
Last year's October festivities were all cancelled due to COVID. More than one million tourists travel to Salem annually which generates nearly $140 million, according to Destination Salem.
WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) has more: