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Salem to require negative test for large Halloween events

The requirement goes into effect on Oct. 1 and lasts through Nov. 1. Masks are required inside all public businesses through mid-November.

Crowds celebrate Halloweeen in Salem in 2019. Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images


The city that hosted the Salem witch trials more than three centuries ago will require a negative COVID-19 test for people to attend some large Halloween events, officials said as they brace for the typical influx of visitors in the weeks ahead of the holiday.

The Salem Board of Health voted Friday to require people to have a negative test taken within 72 hours to attend indoor events with more than 100 people at a public space.

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The requirement goes into effect on Oct. 1 and lasts through Nov. 1. Masks are required inside all public businesses through mid-November.

“The delta variant is so transmissible. We are seeing an increase in COVID case counts in Salem,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll. “Thankfully, more people are vaccinated, so we’re not seeing the crush of hospitalizations. But those numbers are up, too.”

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Details about rapid testing in the area will be announced soon.

Vaccine mandates are in place for some events like the Horror Fest, which includes 50 indoor movies throughout October.

“We’ll do whatever it takes to keep our audience safe,” said Kay Lynch, of Horror Fest. “We’ve capped our audience. We’ve required vaccination. Masks are required indoors.”

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