Proposal for consideration Friday – NBC Boston
Halloween revelers are expected to test negative for COVID before attending large indoor paid events in Salem, Massachusetts in October as part of a proposal being reviewed Friday.
The Witch City Board of Health will hold a special meeting on the matter, Mayor Kim Driscoll said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
“Considering what we’ve seen with the Delta variant and what we know about the number of out-of-state attendees at these events (balls, festivals, parties, etc.), I think this is a precaution. quite reasonable to take, ”she wrote. .
Salem attracts around half a million people each year during the Halloween season for big events such as haunted houses, parade, parties and more. The annual Haunted Happenings celebrations were reduced significantly last year, but are back for 2021.
The Salem Board of Health is taking action as COVID cases increase and tourism is expected to increase soon.
Driscoll said Salem was discussing with a supplier, Curative, setting up a central testing site in the city center that would offer free 15-minute rapid tests to people going to large indoor paid events, as well as ‘to the public. Curative has run some of Massachusetts’ mass vaccination sites.
The COVID test proposal was developed over the past month and discussed with the organizers of major events, Driscoll said. The city would pay for the tests with COVID relief funding.
Salem has a 2% COVID positivity rate – slightly lower than the recent state average – and a low number of hospitalizations, Driscoll said, but measures are increasing among both unvaccinated and vaccinated people. City officials believe it’s because of the delta variant, which is more contagious than previous COVID variants.
“Ensuring that event attendees have a recent negative COVID test will help limit the potential spread associated with these well-attended events – all of which were canceled last year,” Driscoll wrote, adding that the mask mandate of interior will not help stop the transmission of COVID while people eat and drink.
Anyone with comments on the proposed policy can share them with the board of health at [email protected]
Driscoll’s comments came as Gov. Charlie Baker said the state was exploring options for a vaccine verification system, saying having one “will be important for a whole host of reasons.”