Tourists came. Not in massive throngs. But their presence was felt by small businesses this past weekend in Salem, Ma. Some establishments even had short lines in front. Many waitresses most likely picked up more tip money than they originally thought as we dreaded the arrival of the COVID19 infected Halloween holiday season in the Witch City. 

Frankly, people should not be venturing out to a crowded environment. Sure, 2020 has been a claustrophobic, depressing year. We get it. You want to let loose a little and have fun. And, there is no wall around Salem. So— welcome!

Yet, if visiting downtown Salem this October on a weekend is on your “to do list,” it is strongly recommended that you plan ahead. Most of our restaurants, stores, and attractions now require advance tickets or reservations. Long lines are not permitted outside businesses.

To help visitors and our local small business merchants, the City has come up with a way to track crowds before they head downtown. It is called the Downtown Crowd Gauge

Data is derived from vehicle counts in the Museum Place and MBTA garages, combined with  the number of visitors arriving from the commuter rail station. Since the graphic is only updated Fridays-Sundays in October a few times a day it is only an approximation. But, it gives tourists something to work with.

Make no mistake. Our small business owners want your patronage during the Halloween season. We also care about the health safety of customers and employees. Wear a mask. Social distance. We are all in this together.