To the editor:

Last week, Salem residents learned our city has been categorized “red” based on recent increases in our COVID-19 cases. I hope that this news will serve as a wake up call to our city and state leaders.

Cancelling Haunted Happenings events will do little to deter the nearly 500,000 tourists who visit Salem during Halloween week. Our city’s tourism season begins in the summer and we already are experiencing an influx of visitors from out of state.

The travel order issued by the governor is a toothless mandate. It is virtually impossible to keep track of visitors from out of state who drive to Massaschuetts. While boarding facilities are required to tell out-of-state visitors about the travel order, they do not have to report to authorities guests who violate these guidelines. It is incredibly naive to expect tourists will voluntarily spend their vacation days in isolation.

Finally, the city needs to do considerably more to enforce mask-wearing. Too many people are still not wearing masks while walking around downtown sidewalks and our parks.

I appreciate that both the city and its businesses depend heavily upon tourism revenue. But we are in the middle of a major public health crisis. This is not the time for half-measures and wishful thinking.

Isa Leshko



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