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Mayor Linda Tyer gives her weekly COVID-19 update on Friday.

Tyer: City Preparing for Phase 2 Openings

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer said Friday that with the beginning of Phase 2 likely to start Monday, the city is focused on reopening. 
"The public health data continues to trend in the right direction and that is the result of everybody doing their part to keep themselves and others safe," the mayor said during her weekly COVID-19 update on Pittsfield Community Television.
The city has seen 160 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and five deaths; the number of active cases is now 31. Berkshire Medical Center currently has five patients.
Tyer said the city is doing its part to prepare businesses that will be allowed to open in this next phase with limitations and specifications. She said hotels, retail stores, various schools, some personnel services, funeral homes, child care, and restaurants among others will be able to open to different degrees.
Restaurants would specifically be able to open with outdoor seating and Tyer said the city's Health Department has been working with restaurants to accommodate this.  
"There is tremendous interest in utilizing outdoor spaces such as sidewalks and private parking lots for outdoor dining," she said. 
The mayor signed a local order on Friday that would streamline the process of setting up outdoor dining spaces.
She said city parks will also reopen and sports programming will be allowed to continue but only practice. 
She said there are plans to open up city buildings July 20 and the Berkshire Athenaeum has resumed offering curbside pickups.
While the library building remains closed to the public, patrons now have the opportunity to request and safely pick up library items. Books, audio books, movies, and music are available for curbside pickup service. Materials can be reserved online through website or calling or emailing and patrons will be notified when they are ready for pickup. No more than five articles per one pickup a day, and no more than three pickups a week. 
Tyer said applications for the city's COVID-19 relief and recovery program also are now available.
"This program will provide financial assistance to residents, small businesses, and community organizations who are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19," she said. 
The city received $900,000 in Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money to help cover some costs associated with the effects of the novel coronavirus.
"This will help preserve local tax dollars and our ability to manage cash flow," Tyer said. 
She said some of this money went toward the purchase of Chromebooks for remote learning and that the city will make more requests in the future.
Under normal circumstances, she said, this would have been graduation week and that hasn't changed, although the graduations will be virtual ceremonies that will air Sunday on PCTV at 1 and 2 p.m.
"Congratulations graduates you have reached one of life's milestones and you are making your way into the world," Tyer said. "Go be awesome."
Before closing, she called back to the past week's protests over police violence and the death of George Floyd and asked residents to reflect on what the new normal should look like.
"The days and weeks ahead continue to move us toward our new normal, and while we work to adjust to this new way of living there are many things in our community that we should never become comfortable with," she said. "This is a time to define a better community for all of us. Let's stand together and seize the moment."

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Berkshire Theatre Group to Present 'Godspell' Outdoors

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Theatre Group will produce "Godspell" this summer – the first musical in the United States to be approved by Actors' Equity Association in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The show will be presented outdoors in an open-air tent adjacent to The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and is scheduled to run Aug. 6 through Sept. 4. Tickets will be available for purchase Tuesday, July 7, at noon. 

"We could not bear the thought of a Berkshire summer without live theater to support our community, so we jumped through every hoop to create a safe way to make this happen," said BTG Board of Trustees Co-President Lee Perlman. "I hope our production gives hope to the tens of thousands of theater professionals who are on the sidelines this summer. Theater is unstoppable and will be back”

Artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire said "Godspell" got the green light after BTG established a strict protocol to protect the health and safety of the audience, the performers and others involved in the show. 

"We have been working daily and in the true spirit of care and collaboration with Actors’ Equity Association for the past several weeks," she said. "Guided by Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association Mary McColl and her extraordinary team, I have learned much about how to lead a theater in the new world. Our industry, which has been devastated by this global pandemic, will be served by their seriousness, data driven wisdom, and profound understanding of the need for artists to rebuild. 

"I am so proud that Berkshire Theatre Group, in its 92nd season will be authorized and granted the responsibility to produce the musical 'Godspell.'”

After careful consideration with the local and state government, Mayor Linda Tyer of Pittsfield and Actors’ Equity Association, BTG relocated "Godspell" from its original site at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge to outside under a tent at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield.

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