The COVID-19 pandemic may not be over yet, but Halloween festivities in Salem are on track to be almost back to normal.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll joined Boston Public Radio on Wednesday to share how the Witch City is preparing a COVID-friendly Halloween for its seasonal influx of tourists.

In August, the Salem Board of Health voted unanimously for businesses to require masks indoors from Aug. 23 to Nov. 13, while indoor events of more than 100 attendees must require proof of a negative COVID test before entry. Although Halloween is still weeks away, Mayor Driscoll noted that Salem has “been super busy” since late September, with many tourists traveling there from southern states looking for a safe holiday celebration.

“People were really clear — many of those that I spoke with — that they're here because they think Massachusetts is doing things the right way,” Mayor Driscoll said. “It's helping our economic recovery.”

Last October, Mayor Driscoll shared that her administration was “taking some heat” following decisions to tone down 2020 Halloween celebrations due to the pandemic. Precautions included limiting MBTA commuter rail service to the city, and asking businesses to curtail services by 8 p.m.

“We really didn't have a choice,” she said. “We had limitations in occupancy, there was no vaccine, the nooks and crannies of Salem were just filled with people who were all excited to be here, but there really wasn't much for them to do given some of the necessary restrictions we had in place. It was really the safe call. And we still had people here.”

This year, however, Mayor Driscoll is looking forward to celebrating.

“It's just a terrific time to take in all the sights and scenes in our community. There's incredible people watching,” Mayor Driscoll said. “I’m not a big dress-up costume person, right. But what people come up with for their costumes, and you know, the taking of pictures. It has a Mardi Gras feel but without the beads and the alcohol.”

Mayor Driscoll also acknowledged that while many Salem visitors connect the historic witch trials to the city’s Halloween celebrations, it’s important to remember their tragic legacy.

“We want to make sure people understand that that was a point in time that we never want to go back to, and we really want to ensure that we're paying attention to those lessons,” she said. “It's why it's so important that while you're coming here for fun in Salem, and the festive atmosphere around haunted happenings, that we want people to understand what happened here in 1692. Those lessons really inform modern day judicial practices that we have, and they are not to be repeated. It certainly, for us, is a recognition that that history is here. But it's not one that should be taken lightly.”