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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Pittsfield Kiwanis Holds Park of Honor Opening Ceremony
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
Air Force recruiter Staff Sgt. Monica Ureste poses with the flags.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Kiwanis Club of Pittsfield celebrated the 11th annual Park of Honor with an opening ceremony on Saturday afternoon.
The club holds this fundraiser every year. Flags are purchased in honor of local veterans to raise money for scholarships to support children and grandchildren of veterans.
In the decade that the Pittsfield Kiwanis have been holding this fundraiser, the club has raised more than $1 million in scholarships. This year, it sold more than 400 flags.
"I could go on forever, I am so proud of this event and to have it continue for 11 years is a lot of work," President Cheryl Tripp-Cleveland said.
She sent out a heartfelt thank you to the city of Pittsfield, which came to the rescue after the Kiwanis' loyal helper who usually installs the flags became ill. After giving Mayor Linda Tyer a call, the Pittsfield Highway Department was on site within a half hour to put up all of the flags at Park Square.
"This year's almost didn't happen," Tripp-Cleveland said. "One of our people that helps us every year is very very sick and he just couldn't do it, and so we're offering up some prayers and good thoughts for Ernie and wishing him a quick recovery because this community really appreciates everything that he does, and he does so much."
The Kiwanis president also thanked all of the donors including the Pittsfield Highway Department, the Rotary Club, and WBRK and Star 101. She is also thankful for Berkshire Gas, which has given a generous donation each year for the 11 years that the Park of Honor has been held.
The council approved an amended ordinance earlier in the month creating a Homeless Advisory Committee that better clarifies the group's purpose, reporting requirements and advocacy for funding sources.
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On Thursday, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association voted to accept the recommendation of its Tournament Management Committee and not hold any postseason tournaments in the upcoming winter season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. click for more