PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer gave a COVID-19 update on Pittsfield Community Television on Monday afternoon asking residents to adhere to the new restrictions imposed by the state.
After Gov. Charlie Baker announced an emergency order on Monday morning for only essential services to continue operating, Tyer took to PCTV to explain what this means for the city.
"Now more than ever our obligations to one another are vital in overcoming this public health crisis," she said.
Tyer said she has also been in contact with the governor and the Berkshire delegation and has asked for three critical things:
Expedited access to personal protective equipment from the national stockpile for first-responders.
Faster access to testing supplies and labs.
Inclusion of economic response and recovery in Community Development Block Grant applications.
The mayor said that upon entering the second week of the pandemic, things have changed. Last week only two residents in Berkshire County tested positive for novel coronavirus; now, this number has jumped to 26. This number will likely increase as testing continues.
She also offered her condolences to the friends and family of the first individual in Berkshire County to die from COVID-19, which was reported over the weekend. It was not revealed what town the man, who was in his 70s, hailed from.
She thanked those who are abiding by social distancing and asked the skeptics who refuse to stay home to follow the new restrictions, which includes an advisory from the state Department of Public Health to stay home as much as possible.
"I can imagine that our families are starting to feel the pressure of our stay-at-home restrictions. Our neighbors may begin to feel lonely and isolated," she said. "The loss of income is also detrimental ... but you must not waiver: please stay at home and keep your distance even if you are feeling well."
The governor's order calls for all nonessential business to be closed effective noon Tuesday until April 7. Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and manufacturers of medical supplies — along with a list of "essential" manufacturing and services — will stay open.
Tyer asked that those who have to leave their homes for essential products maintain the 6 feet of distance from others and wash their hands before leaving their homes and upon arrival. Those who can, should rely on online delivery services.
She also asked that residents continue to support local restaurants the best they can and order delivery or takeout a few times a week. She said the city will set up special "grab and go" parking starting Wednesday.
The mayor also said that:
• City parks will remain open but only for passive recreation. All city playgrounds are closed.
• Also because of the run on toilet paper, she asked residents to not flush anything other than toilet paper because wipes and other cleaning material can cause sewer backups.
• The city has brought on two additional public health nurses and that its Coronavirus Preparedness Team is constantly evaluating the situation.
• Pittsfield is forming a Central Berkshire Emergency Operation Center to join the EOC established last week in North County and one to be created South County for a coordinated effort to access resources, equipment, and supplies.
• Long list of services that can be found on the city's website and the community impact dashboard there will be continually be updated.
• Those who have symptoms of COVID-19 — dry cough, sore throat, fever and shortness of breath — should continue to follow protocol and call their doctor or the BMC Link Line before going to the hospital. She also asked that residents cooperate with public health workers.
The mayor concluded her address by asking residents to make the best of staying home with their families and create new memories and family pastimes.
"If we all do our part right now and for as long as we have to are city will remain strong and recover faster," she said. "Please take good care of yourselves and right now that means staying at home."
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Licensing Board extended the hours that the Proprietor's Lodge can serve alcohol on its patios to help accommodate social distancing while dining.
The board acted Wednesday on a request from the lodge's owner Eric Taylor, despite concern from the neighborhood, that would provide the restaurant a lifeline during the reopening process.
"This is a unique situation and Mr. Taylor is in a difficult situation much like other restaurants across the state," Chairman Thomas Campoli said. "The neighbors have a legitimate point about this but I believe there ought to be some accommodation to this restaurant and I think we have to view this through the prism of the pandemic."
Taylor said the COVID-19 pandemic has already dampened the summer season and essentially all weddings and events at the lodge have been canceled. They now hope to shift more toward the restaurant portion of the business and promote its outdoor space that will allow more seating while social distancing.
MassWildlife has seen a dramatic uptick in newly documented eagle nests and has confirmed nine new nests in Fitchburg, Wenham, Concord, Rutland, Wareham, Medford, Northampton, Hudson, and Barnstable. click for more
"I never intended to stay involved this long, but after you see the love and respect the staff have for the people they serve, it's impossible to leave," he said. "And while it has been hard for me to resign, it's time for me to step down, allow for new leadership, and enjoy my retirement." click for more