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Municipalities are posting signs to remind visitors to keep their distance.

March 28 COVID-19 Briefs: Public Parks Push Passive Use

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Group Games Banned in Public Parks

Communities including North Adams have been removing hoop rims to discourage youth congregating at public parks.
Reminder that playgrounds and sports facilities are closed during the state of emergency. Walking paths, fields and benches are still open but group activities and sports such as basketball are prohibited. Playground equipment is not being sanitized and should not be used. Remember to maintain social distancing of 6 feet or more.
North Adams Administrative Officer Michael Canales said the hoop rims were removed from parks including Noel Field and UNO because young people were gathering there.
"Right now parks only for passive recreation," he said. "We removed the rims because even if they're passing a basketball between them, they're making contact through the ball. ... We want them to socially distance."
North Adams has installed large signs at the parks reminding residents of the rules but Canales acknowledged it has been difficult to enforce at the skate park. 
Adams has also closed all its athletic fields, skate park and playground equipment, although passive use can continue including on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail if people follow the 6-foot rule. 
Pittsfield is removing some of its playground equipment and roping off areas to discourage use.
State parks are also open, however, "if visitors of state parks observe areas with high concentrations of people, the public is asked to leave the location and either visit a different park in the area or return at a later date or time."

Pittsfield Updates Meal Sites

Effective Monday, March 30, the Pittsfield Public Schools will begin a new schedule for breakfast and lunch service. Meal service for will run from noon to 1 p.m.
The program will be in effect Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On each day that the meal program is in operation, students will receive meals for multiple days.
The new schedule is as follows:
  • Monday: meals for Monday and Tuesday
  • Wednesday: meals for Wednesday and Thursday
  • Friday: meals for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
The following sites throughout Pittsfield are as follows:
  • Morningside Community School, 100 Burbank St.
  • Conte Community School, 200 West Union St.
  • Dower Square Housing Village, 253 Wahconah St.
  • The Berkshire Family YMCA, 292 North St.
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires,16 Melville St.
  • Brattlebrook Apartments, April Lane.
  • Berkshire Peak Apartments, 341 West St.
  • Wilson Park Housing, Memorial Drive.

Lenox Offices Closed

The Lenox Town Hall offices are closed and staff are checking emails and voicemails remotely. A drop box has been placed in the Police Department lobby intended for correspondence that would normally have to be dropped off in a town office.

Orchards Hotel Closes

The Orchards Hotel in Williamstown posted on Facebook that it was closing "in the best interest of our community at large."
"Per directives and guidance from state officials and the CDC, and in light of recent events, it means that we have made the difficult choice to suspend operations at our hotel for the time being," wrote general manager Janell LaFleche. "We are monitoring this evolving situation constantly and look forward to reopening our doors and welcoming you as soon as possible."

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Trail Conservancy Cautions Pandemic Care When Hiking

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Although most of the Appalachian Trail is still open, hikers are asked to practice common sense during the pandemic while on the trail or to just stay home.
COVID-19 has challenged people to find new ways to stay active while practicing social distancing and local trail volunteer Cosmo Catalano, Jr said although folks are encouraged to stay home, common sense needs to be used to maintain social distancing. 
"The AT, along with other trails on public lands provides an important resource for people to get outdoors in a healthy way," he said. "With care and common sense, it's relatively easy for people to maintain appropriate social distance and enjoy the outdoors."
Catalano said the trail organization structure is complicated and is organized by a number of entities. In Massachusetts about half the trail is on state forest lands managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The other half is on lands managed by the National Park Service.
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