SALEM, MA — As businesses across Salem hope that a busy Halloween month will help offset losses from spring coronavirus closures, the city will hold a briefing next week to update business owners on the state of the city in its battle to keep test rates low.

The meeting will take place Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. — the morning after the Board of Health decides whether to adopt the eased restaurant restrictions Gov. Charlie Baker announced this week. The new guidelines would increase the number of people allowed at a table from six to 10, and allow bar seating for those who order food.

Salem is postponing the easing of restrictions, which are set to go into effect for most of the state on Monday, until the Board of Health can take up the matter at a special meeting Tuesday night.

“Restaurant operators should anticipate that the limitation on people

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As summer comes to a close, the United States is averaging about 40,000 new cases a day, down from a horrifying peak in late July. But in many ways, the country is worse off now than at the beginning of the season: On Memorial Day weekend, the United States averaged 22,000 cases a day.

The Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays bookend a summer of lost opportunity. The United States failed to stamp out the virus before the fall, which is expected to bring new dangers with the start of the school year, flu season and cooler weather that will drive people indoors.

To make matters more complex, our colleague, Mitch Smith, who tracks the virus, told us that the current state of epidemic is “a tale of two countries.”

Some states that had devastating outbreaks this summer, like Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Texas and California, have all

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