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Mayor Linda Tyer has been providing COVID-19 updates related to Pittsfield each Friday on Pittsfield Community Television.

Mayor Tyer Urges Continued Cautions, Updates on Mask Policy

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer asked residents to continue their adherence to social distancing and announced new mandates for food establishments.
During her weekly address Friday on Pittsfield Community Television, she commended Pittsfielders for staying home and being mindful of restrictions and practices aimed at snuffing out COVID-19.
"Our community response has worked. Pittsfield has indeed slowed the spread of the virus and the data continues to show a very promising trend," she said. "I know that each of you have made big adjustments to your daily life and we all want to resume a sense of normalcy but we all must continue to be vigilant."
So far, the city has seen 135 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and five deaths, including one reported Friday. However, 102 people have recovered and 1,551 tests have been administered. 
Tyer said the city will align with the state's recent decision to continue the stay-at-home order until May 18 and until then non-essential businesses will remain closed along with public buildings. 
"While there may be a few minor unique elements to Pittsfield, we will align the city's reopening with the state’s forthcoming recommendation," she said.  
Existing staffing schedules will remain also in place and board and commissions will remain inactive unless meeting remotely.
Tyer said one change that will be officially put into action Friday by the local Department of Public Health will be new restrictions for food establishments, such as grocery stores, still operating. Employees now must wear protective masks and acknowledge capacity and social distancing regulations.
"This is no longer a set of recommendations; this is an order with enforcement provision and penalties," she said.
She said sites will first receive a warning. A second violation will come with a $50 fine, a third with a $100 fine, and all violations after that will come with a $300 fine. 
Grocers were advised two weeks ago about the recommendations issued by the state and asked to submit plans for compliance to the city's Department of Public Health. On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker also issued an executive order mandating the wearing of masks in areas where people cannot properly social distance, such as stores and transit vehicles. 
Also the city will not accept special event permit applications until May 15 and only for events to take place after July 1.
Tyer said the Department of Public Health has expanded its criteria for entry into the state isolation and recovery sites. They are no longer only limited to the homeless but also to those with mild symptoms and those who may live with large groups of people or vulnerable individuals where there is a higher risk of contagion.
She said there is a site in Pittsfield and those with questions can call 617-367-5150.
Also the department is expanding testing for those who live and work in congregate living facilities. She said there was a positive case at Melbourne Place and since then employees and residents have been tested. No others tested positive.
Other announcements: There is a dropbox available in the back of City Hall to submit documents and correspondence. The farmers market will remain virtual until July. Residents may get a call from the state's community tracing collaborative (calls will have a prefix of 833857 or read MA COVID Team). The governor is asking residents to respond to the tracing team. The Department of Public Works plans to flush hydrants next week.
Tyer signed off by wishing everyone well and thanking all helping to flatten the curve.
"Thank you again for doing your part Pittsfielders. I am so very proud of your resolve, your fortitude, and your sheer grit," she said. "Each day brings us a little closer to a time where we can all be together again."

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Pittsfield City Council Rejects Petition to Remove Connell

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council denied a petition aimed to remove Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell by claiming he no longer lived in Pittsfield.
Late into the six-hour meeting Tuesday, councilors came to the agreement that although Connell is spending much of his time quarantining out of state, his primary residence is still in Pittsfield.  
"I just want to thank you all for your kind support and thought and I will continue to do the best that I can for this council and this city," Connell said at the meeting's close around 1 in the morning. 
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