image description

Mayor Tyer Asks Residents to Maintain Cautions Over Holiday Weekend

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
Print Story | Email Story
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Memorial Day and the Fourth of July will be observed a great deal differently this year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, especially the absence of parades. 
 
In her weekly address Friday on Pittsfield Community Television, Mayor Linda Tyer said these "longstanding cherished traditions" have meant gatherings — sometimes of the thousands — to celebrate the nation's birthday and the sacrifice of the nation's servicemen and women.
 
The Pittsfield Parade Committee on Wednesday evening announced it would cancel the Fourth of July Parade, a decision that Tyer said is in the best interest of the community.
 
"The very thing that make this event so enjoyable also create the greatest risk to our community," she said. "I know this wasn't an easy decision to make and I commend the Parade Committee for taking this public health threat very seriously."
 
And as the region enters the Memorial Day weekend, the annual observances across the county have been canceled, postponed, limited or turned remote where possible. Pittsfield's parade normally begins at City Hall and marches through the city's downtown.
 
"Sadly, we won't have a parade this year, it just wouldn't be safe," said Tyer. "I am proud that through the diligent efforts of City Council President Peter Marchetti and a large group of dedicated volunteers, American flags have been planted in Pittsfield and St. Joseph's cemeteries."
 
The mayor said it was her first time in volunteering to place the flags and found it a "moving, spiritual, somber experience."
 
Instead of a parade, a Memorial Day program will be broadcast by PCTV on Monday featuring Marine Corps veteran John Harding at Pittsfield Cemetery.  
 
"I know that this year's celebration may look and feel different, but our respect and admiration for our veterans is as strong as ever," the mayor said. 
 
Taking this Memorial Day weekend to maintain social distancing and cover faces when within 6 feet of each other is still necessary to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, she said, in discussing the state's four-phase "Reopening Massachusetts" plan. 
 
She said the expanded contact testing in the city so far has reported that eight of the nine newest cases in Pittsfield were asymptomatic. The city now has confirmed 162 cases of COVID-19, the last eight or nine in the past week. 
 
"This is concerning as it underscores the fact that this virus continues to spread easily from person to person," she said. 
 
Tyer encouraged all residents to read the report released Monday by the state and noted it will guide Pittsfield's own reopening. She said the state will continue to rely on data and if numbers take a negative turn the state will not progress to a later stage or may even move backward.
 
She referred to the new "safer at home" restriction and noted that although new services and business will be allowed to reopen with limitations, people must still cover their faces, wash their hands, stay home if able, and be vigilant. Residents should answer the phone if the state's COVID-19 tracking and tracing team calls, and if they feel they have symptoms, to call the BMC Link Line at 855-262-5465 to speak to a nurse. 
 
Pittsfield and the Berkshires have been successful in containing the virus but the state has still been hit hard by the virus and the more dire situation in the eastern part of the state could easily happen in the Berkshires. 
 
"We are a small state and what is happening on the eastern part with are neighbors could just as easily happen here in the Berkshires," she said. "We must remain on guard."
 
She said different phases will allow new business and organization to reopen with specific limitations. She said the city will work with this plan and just recently the Board of Health reached out to restaurants and food trucks to help them prepare for a possible phase 2 reopening.
 
"You all have done what was asked of you," Tyer said. "Your constant vigilance has served all of us well we are now entering new terrain that has the potential to roll back all of our gains. Our resolve will be put to the test as more business begin to reopen and we start to engage in more community life.
 
"Now more than ever we have to count on each other to do the right thing."
 
The mayor said she understood that quarantine fatigue is real and the guidelines are frustrating, but getting back to normal is dependent on people following the guidelines. If the public health data doesn't show reductions in cases and hospitalizations, it may mean pausing the reopening plan or even regressing to impose prior restrictions. 
 
She encourages residents to look ahead to next Memorial Day. 
 
"I look forward to next year's celebration because our coming together will symbolize victory over COVID-19," she said.

 


Tags: COVID-19,   


More Coronavirus Updates

Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 news:


1 Comments
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to info@iberkshires.com.

The Berkshire Museum Will Reopen Saturday, Aug. 1

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After being closed for more than four months, the Berkshire Museum will once again welcome visitors through its doors in downtown Pittsfield. 

The museum, which will open in phases, plans to open exclusively to its members for two weeks during its first phase beginning Saturday, Aug. 1, before inviting the whole community in phase 2 starting Monday, Aug. 17. The reopening of the Berkshire Museum comes as part of Phase 3 of the state's four-phase Reopening Massachusetts plan, which began Monday, July 6, as announced on July 2.

The museum intends to meet or exceed all state-mandated health and safety guidelines through each reopening phase. Beginning Aug. 1, guests will be welcomed back to the museum with a series of new health and safety protocols in place, including new and improved cleaning procedures, time-based advance ticketing that reserves each exhibition for one "family unit" - a group that has been quarantining together - at a time, mandatory face coverings, social distancing between visitors and staff, and more.

"Throughout the pandemic, the Berkshire Museum has prioritized the health and safety of our guests and staff," said Jeff Rodgers, executive director. "This remains our primary concern, especially as we watch states across the nation suffer rising rates of infection. To ensure that we are acting responsibly, we're taking a phased approach to reopening that will allow us to adjust to changing conditions."

From Aug. 115, the Aquarium will open for Berkshire Museum members with timed reservations. Members can enjoy private, 45-minute, self-led explorations of the Aquarium on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The museum will close from 1 to 2 p.m. daily for cleaning.

The same operating hours will continue during phase 2 from Aug. 17-31, with timed reservations available to the public. In this phase visits will expand to include both the Aquarium and a last chance to see the Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons for all visitors.

Timed tickets must be reserved in advance at berkshiremuseum.org or by calling 413-443-7171, ext. 360. Berkshire Museum members, children under 18, and EBT cardholders always visit free. During phase 2, adult regular admission will be $5. Reservations can be made starting July 23 for dates between Aug. 1 and 31.

View Full Story

More Pittsfield Stories